Changes to be made to Student Fee Review Committee

Any MU student will be able to apply for a position on the committee.
Ana Stock / Graphic Designer

The Missouri Students Association proposed a bill Tuesday that will amend parts of the bylaws to change the makeup of the Student Fee Review Committee. The changes would make committee membership open to any MU student.

According to the MSA bylaws, article 6.31 section B4, five senators “shall be appointed to the Student Fee Review Committee with the advice of the chair.” The proposed changes would eliminate this requirement and MSA senators would have to apply for a position.

These changes follow the SFRC’s violation of the MSA bylaws by not submitting any legislation to MSA Senate regarding the fee increases before submitting a proposal to Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Cathy Scroggs.

The proposal, which increases student fees to $11.16 for the 2012-13 academic year, was approved by the UM System Board of Curators.

The Board of Curators asked for the proposal to be submitted by Dec. 15, 2011. Scroggs said legislation was not submitted to MSA Senate because of the tight deadline.

“(Legislation) didn’t happen because we had to submit the fees earlier than usual,” she said.

Although no legislation was brought to Senate, Scroggs offered a complete breakdown of the fees, which are increasing by 2.9 percent from the 2011-12 academic year.

The SFRC was created in the early 2000s by Scroggs herself as a way to get students involved in the student fee review process.

“It was really just a way to get some student input on a process that was all administrative prior to that,” Scroggs said. “Prior to (the SFRC’s) creation, the student fees were just proposed to me, and I gave them to the chancellors. There was very little real vetting of the fees and their uses except from staff.”

The SFRC has no real authority in the approval of student fees, though Scroggs has always approved the committee’s recommendations. She said even she does not have the final say in the process.

“What everybody needs to remember is that I don’t get to approve the fees,” she said. “Ultimately the Board (of Curators) does. Even what we work through on campus, we still recommend to the board.”

The changes MSA proposed to its bylaws were actually recommended by Scroggs.

“What we’re trying to do is get the group back to its original intent,” she said.

Scroggs said she wants to hear from a number of student voices on campus.

“I want to make sure that I don’t just know what a few student leaders think,” she said.

MSA Senate Speaker Jake Sloan said he agrees with the changes.

“The problem with the way it's currently set up is our budget committee and Graduate Professional Council automatically get spots,” he said at the senate committee meetings Tuesday.

The SFRC approves student health fees, the recreational fee and student activity fees, and some of that money goes directly to MSA.

“Since we have a monopoly, we could choose to increase our fees anytime we want,” Sloan said.

When Scroggs created the SFRC about 10 years ago, she said she did not plan on having a specific number of representatives from MSA or GPC.

“I asked MSA and GPC to appoint some people to the committee,” she said. “They didn’t have to be from Senate. We just wanted representatives that represented the undergraduate population.”

The proposed changes to the MSA bylaws will return the SFRC to its original intent.

“It sort of got bogged down,” Scroggs said.

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