Student Fee Committee member Angela Leonardo quit her job during the first week of budget deliberations, and her exit could affect the quorum status of the committee. The Student Fee Committee (SFC) is charged with allocating almost $10 million in student fees to Portland State’s close to 100 student groups, including athletics and the Vanguard.
Month of no pay costs SFC one member
Student Fee Committee member Angela Leonardo quit her job during the first week of budget deliberations, and her exit could affect the quorum status of the committee.
The Student Fee Committee (SFC) is charged with allocating almost $10 million in student fees to Portland State’s close to 100 student groups, including athletics and the Vanguard.
Her decision to quit came because Leonardo was not paid for the month of January, following discussion within student government at PSU over her eligibility. Leonardo failed to meet the six-credit completion requirement to serve during fall term, and the Associated Students of Portland State University (ASPSU) Judicial Board decided that Leonardo was eligible to serve on the committee because she planned on making up her fall term incomplete credits.
Because Dean of Students Wendy Endress questioned the legality of the Judicial Board’s decision to allow Leonardo’s continued service, the Oregon Department of Justice investigated the decision. Leonardo’s eligibility is still in question, and she subsequently did not receive her January pay.
Leonardo had been a member of the SFC since the start of the 2006-07 academic year, and her position may not be filled until the ASPSU elections in March. The vacancy on the board does create complications for the remaining deliberations and places additional pressure on the remaining members as they assume Leonardo’s duties.
ASPSU President Courtney Morse has not declared Leonardo’s seat vacant, pending Leonardo’s possible return to her duties. Morse said she will appoint a new candidate around the time of the upcoming elections in March.
“I feel like Angela’s position is being hijacked by the Department of Justice and PSU’s administration,” Morse said.
Morse said that the Oregon DOJ has been called upon twice this year to review ASPSU processes. She said that she has concern for their continued involvement in the student government process and feels that their critique of ASPSU is hindering their operations.
Morse said that Leonardo is uncertain about why she was not paid for the month of January even though Endress told Leonardo that she would not receive a stipend. Leonardo has been unavailable for comment.
The current quorum, or minimum number of attending members required to hold SFC sessions, is set at five members for the SFC. Without Leonardo, the committee can only allow for one absence in order to make quorum.
The Judicial Board will be consulted to reconsider quorum issues if the SFC decides to operate as a seven-member committee next term.
The SFC is holding deliberations this week to determine how funds for the 2007-08 year should be allocated and is expected to finish with initial allocations by Friday. The committee is currently comprised of seven members that oversee the distribution of Portland State’s budget to student groups.
SFC expects increase in incidental fee
The SFC expects the incidental student fee, which pays for all student groups, to increase because student groups request more funds and new groups join the SFC budget. Committee chair Madeline Enos also said that the enrollment rate for next year is expected to decrease, which would raise the costs for students that do attend.
“We on the committee need to be cognizant of the increases in student fees,” Enos said.
Student fees were increased by 25 percent for the 2006-07 year–equating a total of $167 per term–after being stagnant for the three years prior. If the SFC approves the currently proposed budget, student fees could increase to $221 per term.
Student groups have requested a total of $11.8 million for the 2007-08 year, an increase of more than $2 million over last year’s allocations. Student groups are divided into two divisions: Group A is comprised of the larger student groups such as ASPSU, student publications (including the Vanguard) and athletics; Group B incorporates the majority of smaller student groups that receive SFC funding.
Athletics has a total proposed budget of over $9 million and the SFC has agreed to initially allocate $2,763,843, effectively subsidizing 30 percent of the total athletics budget for next year.
SFC member Aubrey Lidstrom said during public deliberations last week that the committee intends to be conservative during public allocations, given that student groups can bring forth their concerns during appeals. The appeals to the committee are scheduled to begin next week after the Group B deliberations are finished this week.
Groups joining the SFC budget next year include the Pathos Literary Magazine, the Catholic Student Association, and Viking Vision, a broadcast journalism channel on campus that requested $33, 586 in total fees. Pathos is requesting $19,329 for next year and the Catholic Students Association seeks $3,084 in SFC funding.
Over 100 student groups requested funds from the SFC this year. Fifteen of the largest and other select student groups:
American Institute of Graphic ArtsRequest for 2007-08: $11,930Allocated for 2006-07: $4,152
American Society of Civil EngineersRequest for 2007-08: $5,059Allocated for 2006-07: $39,011
Associated Students of Portland State UniversityRequest for 2007-08: $318,827Allocated for 2006-07: $293,709
Campus Crusade for ChristRequest for 2007-08: $4,245Allocated for 2006-07: $7,841
Campus RecreationRequest for 2007-08: $818,859Allocated for 2006-07: $949,656
College RepublicansRequest for 2007-08: $2,522Allocated for 2006-07: $ 13,758
Financial Management SocietyRequest for 2007-08: $23,972Allocated for 2006-07: $4,940
Food for Thought CafeRequest for 2007-08: $29,100Allocated for 2006-07: $64,103
Multicultural CenterRequest for 2007-08: $112,689Allocated for 2006-07: $158,747
Snowboarding ClubRequest for 2007-08: $19,381Allocated for 2006-07: $25,449
Student Activities and Leadership ProgramsRequest for 2007-08: $906,278Allocated for 2006-07: $690,374
Student Organization CouncilRequest for 2007-08: $29,051Allocated for 2006-07: $34,569
VanguardRequest for 2007-08: $246,420Allocated for 2006-07: $174,453
Viking Rowing CrewRequest for 2007-08: $15,558Allocated for 2006-07: $25,453
Women’s Resource CenterRequest for 2007-08: $190,129Allocated for 2006-07: $151,075