By Mat Scott
Assistant News Editor
A resolution proposed by Senator Jared Kriwinsky ’16 to raise student activity fees from $430 to $480 has been tabled indefinitely by DCGA. The vote took place at the Senate meeting last Tuesday.
“The idea to raise the student activity fees came after the uproar by the budgeting process last spring,” Kriwinsky said. “After a conversation with Dr. Kennedy, it seemed to me that the student body’s best option was to raise the fee.”
“After discussions with about 20 students, $50 seemed like it would be the most agreeable among the student body. This is a very small sample size, however.”
If the Senate decided on Tuesday to approve this bill, then the student activity fees that the finance committee has annually to distribute to student organizations would have been over one million dollars. Last year, student organizations requested $1.6 million dollars to fund the approximate 170 student organizations that currently exist on campus.
The proposal was met with opposition from both DCGA members and other students who believed that it was not ready to pass in its current state.
“I was opposed to approving the resolution at this past Senate,” Mills said. “The majority of the Senate body voted to table the resolution.”
Despite the fact that she was not in support of his proposed bill, the vice president said that she is appreciative of Kriwinsky’s efforts. She said, “I applaud [Kriwinsky] for his initiative. He was not expecting it to pass; he was prompting a passionate debate.”
In Friday’s Bullsheet, Editor Katie Landoll ’18 published an article about the recent Senate meeting, in which she specifically referenced the proposal being tabled. Landoll is also a member of the newly-formed Ad Hoc finance committee.
“As a number of others pointed out,” Landoll said in her article, “bringing up a resolution that you don’t want to pass is extremely irresponsible—once it’s on the floor, you lose control of it, and it could very well be passed, even in its incomplete state.”
“I originally intended to have it as a discussion rather than a vote, I simply forgot to clarify this to DCGA rules” said Kriwinsky. “This was irresponsible of me and I apologize for that.”
As a member of the Ad Hoc committee, Landoll will be one of seven students including DCGA Finance Chair Sarah Anstaett ‘18, Jewell Porter ‘16, Dylan Parson ‘16, Jake Lyon ‘18, Fernando Magana ‘17 and Isabel Randolph ‘16 who will attempt to reform the distribution of student fees.
“The Ad Hoc Finance Committee was entrusted with the duty of reevaluating the distribution of student fees. I view raising the student activity fees as intertwined. A confusing message is sent to the student body when we create an ad hoc committee for finances then still try to improve finance internally,” Mills said.
“In my opinion, this Ad Hoc should be focusing on the big picture of finances. If raising the student activity fee is one of the conclusions they reach, I would feel more comfortable voting yes on this resolution.”
The student fees that were being debated are a part of the “fees” category of the cost of attendance. As this portion is not technically a part of tuition, DCGA does have the authority to take action with regards to activity fees.
“More research needs to be done into this subject,” Kriwinsky said, “but the biggest problem is that it is always a dicey subject when it comes to raising tuition.”
According to Kriwinsky, tuition costs have risen by over $4,000 since 2012.
Another recent issue covered both in last week’s staff editorial and in multiple Bullsheet articles is the lack of communication between DCGA and the general student body.
“Transparency and communication issues have been further brought to our attention by the student body, especially by The Denisonian and The Bullsheet,” Mills said. “How we communicate is constantly on our minds. Denison lacks clear means of communication across all angles, and we hope we can greater understand how our student body can best communicate.”
Kriwinsky’s attempt to send an all-student email regarding his proposed resolution was reportedly blocked by administration.