PSU’s World Dance Office would like to expand the hip-hop workshops they sponsor. Their curriculum has not been updated in three years. The PSU NAACP group is hoping to send 10 members to a national convention. KPSU has extended its broadcast hours, and has also added an on-campus FM station. On Tuesday, these groups and many more made their cases to the Student Fee Committee, explaining why their need for capital should be covered with funds from student fees.
Student fees are a mandatory part of each student’s tuition, $127 per term for full-time undergraduate students and a sliding scale for students who take part-time loads. The SFC hears from student groups asking for allocations, and then meets privately to debates the merit of each organization’s request. After the committee releases the budget, each group has a chance to appeal the allocation of funds if they feel their needs were not properly met.
Many organizations on campus or representing PSU nationally get some funding from the student fees. They range from athletic teams to student government to drama production. Chris Moller, committee chair, bears the responsibility of hearing all of the groups, asking the appropriate questions and conferring with his colleagues to dispense the $11 million fairly. “By definition, the student fees are to be earmarked for student publications, education, activities, athletics and the student union.” Moller is a 27-year-old post baccalaureate with a degree in environmental sciences.
Tuesday afternoon, Moller listened to group after group in preparation of the pending budget. “My colleagues and I have all done this before, so it makes it much easier. We all have experience in dealing with the student fee interviewees, and the long process in coming to equitable solutions.”
The biggest recipients have traditionally been athletics, the Smith Center, and child care. According to Moller, the share for the athletic department tops $2 million, while the Smith Center receives roughly $600,000 annually.
During the hearings, Mary Cunningham and Emily Garrick, president and vice president of ASPSU, find themselves answering questions about an increase in photocopy spending. Their organization spent nearly $5,000 on photocopies last year, and Moller would like to know why. According to the representatives, other groups have been using their copy machine both with and without permission, thus resulting in the discrepancy. Moller takes note, and moves on to the next item in their budget.
The World Dance Office took form years ago when dance was dropped from the school curriculum as a major. The head of the department explains to Moller that she needs a co-coordinator who is paid year-round, since most of her planning takes place in the summer. They also need to attend dance workshops, which involves travel and lodging. The committee takes it under advisement.
A young man and woman are next, representing the NAACP on campus. They haven’t received SFC funding in the past, and are now asking the Student Fee Committee to send 10 delegates to a national conference. They also would like to create six paid positions within the organization. They explain the benefits to the committee, and then exit so another organization can make their case. Moller takes note, and then moves on to another in the long line of people who benefit from student fees, and the committee that has been charged with administering them.