May 25, 2007
By Elizabeth Boyle
The group of students charged with recommending how the university should allocate the student general fee presented its plan to the Budget Planning Council Friday morning.
The BPC got its first look at the recommendations and had a chance to see how they might fit into the bigger picture as budget facts unfold.
President Roderick J. McDavis this year created the first student General Fee Advisory Committee as a means for students to make recommendations on general fee allocations, which represent in excess of $30 million. The committee process, outlined fall quarter, called for it to make recommendations to the vice president for student affairs, then to Student Senate, then to the BPC. This past week, the senate passed the committee's recommendations.
"We're very much looking forward to involving students in this process in the way we haven't before," said Associate Vice President for Student Affairs Rich Carpinelli.
Before the BPC can react to the general fee recommendations, several steps need to occur.
"This is a new process this year, and we've learned about some key issues brought forward by the students," Vice President for Finance and Administration Bill Decatur said. "But we need more information to make decisions."
First, Vice President for Student Affairs Kent Smith will review the recommendations. Before Friday's BPC meeting he had not yet been given the opportunity to provide his feedback, as the process requires.
Second, the BPC awaits information on how the state budget, which is moving through the Senate, will shake out. In preparation for different scenarios, the General Fee Advisory Committee came forth with two budget models, one representing a zero percent increase in general fees and one representing a 3 percent increase.
Third, the BPC will examine more fully the assumptions underlying the general fee recommendations.
The BPC has scheduled a special meeting for Friday, June 1, to further discuss the priorities outlined in the students' recommendations, which includes allotting funds to a broad range of programs, from Student Affairs and Psychological Services to the arts, Career Services and Athletics.
"Some modification to represent a rebalancing of the general fee was called for," General Fee Advisory Committee Co-chair Patrick Heery said of the reason for the recommendations.
In its deliberations this morning, the BPC -- the group of faculty, students and administrators charged with making recommendations to the president for balancing the university's budget -- kept in mind that any changes the university makes to the general fee allocations would go into effect at the beginning of the new fiscal year on July 1. That may be too soon for full deliberation to occur on any broad changes.
"Students will certainly be at that table for the discussion on the long-term picture," Executive Vice President and Provost Kathy Krendl said. "I want to use evidence and fully deliberate before we make any decisions."