Registered Student Organizations (RSO’s) that aren’t funded by Activity & Service (A&S) fees have long enjoyed services, such as printing, free of charge. The Activity & Service Recommendation Committee (ASRC) recently considered taking this privilege away due to the fact that these organizations aren’t open to all students.
A survey was sent out by student body president, Moneer Kheireddine, asking students their thoughts on this proposal considering this would result in substantial changes to how some RSO’s operate.
According to Kheireddine, 90 percent of the approximately 700 people that participated in the survey did not favor taking away free printing.
Kheireddine said taking away these services would save Student Government about $10,000-$15,000 in the end.
“What that (taking away printing from non-A&S funded RSO’s) sets in stone is a principle,” Kheireddine said. “A principle that we do not want to fund non-A&S entities, because they’re not open to all students. So when you set a principle like that, you can’t go back on it. So, that decision would lead to other decisions, like lack of free MSC room reservations. That’s a big principle change.”
Kheireddine said he worked on this survey and brought it before the Senate Relations Committee to no avail.
“Eventually, they decided that they didn’t want to send out that survey, because they didn’t think it was something that they wanted to ask the student body,” Kheireddine said. “In hindsight of that, I decided to send out a survey through the executive branch.”
This issue comes up while a controversial $1.375 million endowment, comprised of student paid A&S fees, has been proposed. This endowment would be invested with the hope of it yielding high returns in the future.
RSO’s may not be granted A&S funding when they have certain requirements for membership like those based on sex, religion or gender. Examples of this is Greek life organizations and honor societies.
Even though these organizations are selective in choosing members, Kheireddine said these services are still offered due to the fact that they still host events and participate in philanthropies that are open to all students.
Ultimately, ASRC decided not to cut these services, so RSO’s are safe for now, according to Kheireddine, but the issue could arise again.
“The budgeting process isn’t over, so the decision could be brought up again if there was an interest in the committee to change it again,” Kheireddine said. “It could also be brought up again next year or something like that.”