Student Fee Committee closes out school year

The Student Fee Committee held hearings on Tuesday, Aug. 14 and Thursday, Aug. 16 for several fee-funded areas to request forgiveness on budget overages or rollover allocations from unused budget money from the 2017–18 academic year.

Student organizations such as the Organizational Budget Committee, the Queer Resource Center, the Student Sustainability Center, Student Legal Services, and the Graphic Design Center were all present during the meeting.

The SSC, which oversees environmental projects on campus such as the seed bank, garden spaces, and a recently established bee apiary, only recently began receiving funds from the SFC. Previously, they had been funded by 10-year Millar Grant administered by the Institute for Sustainable Solutions.

Thursday’s meeting heard from seven other FFA’s including Fifth Avenue Cinema, Littman + White Galleries, Pacific Sentinel, Little Vikings, PSU Food Pantry, Portland State Professional Sound, and Student Activities and Leadership Programs.

The SFC also met with Athletics Director Valerie Cleary about changing the allocation of student fee money to the athletics program to reflect academic success. Currently, the allocation to athletics works has been determined through a formula—a trait that is not shared by any other FFAs—and factors in many variables such as previous SFC allocation, fall enrollment and student attendance to sporting events.

The SFC is proposing the addition of academic success to this formula. Cleary expressed her concern with supporting this proposal, cautioning against the proposition of equating athlete grades with dollars. She also claimed PSU athletes maintain a 3.24 average GPA and have a graduation rate of 66 percent.

Finally, during the public forum, the SFC was asked to comment on an open letter titled “Comments for SFC on SMSU Renovation,” written by Reaz Mahmood, Director of Student Media. Donald Thompson, SFC chair, explained they were not at this time ready to comment on the letter sent to the SFC on July 26.

“Something we have come to understand is that when we’re implementing a study to see what we can do when we begin to talk about a renovation, there are certain things that we can stipulate,” Thompson said. “So absolutely we will have a position on those things because there are a lot of things that we are really concerned about maintaining in [Smith Memorial Student Union], primarily student autonomy and the ability to come here and do with it what we need and what we already do with it right now.”

Thompson added that discussion on SMSU renovations will pick back up again in a few weeks after the SFC’s current work on completing budgets allocations is completed.