The Student Governing Association’s Tuition Fees and Strategies Committee looked to the future during Tuesday’s meeting with an open discussion on the committee’s struggles over the past year and potential solutions for the next year.
The committee focused primarily on its relationship with College Tuition Committees and how it can better voice its opinions on the merits of fees brought before them, as the members can only validate a CTC’s vote on the basis of adherence to processes.
TFSC decides to accept two departmental fees, vows to craft new department fee proposal process
Ryan Kelly, speaker of the senate, future co-chair of TFSC and junior in civil engineering, said he was hesitant to allow TFSC to interact too closely with CTCs, lest members take control of the conversation with the deans bringing forward fee proposals.
“While the deans provide their sides, they’re the students that were selected to make that decision on behalf of other students,” Kelly said. “Who are we? Just another body of students that are more qualified than them?”
However, other committee members said having TFSC be part of the conversation with deans and CTCs could initiate conversations and explore avenues of concerns that the CTC otherwise would not have considered.
“I feel like the only real way to expose the students of the college tuition committees to the concerns that TFSC has, and like the ‘other side’ as how we’re kind of framing this, is to have them present in this room when we’re discussing those things,” Miranda Moore, former academic affairs director and junior in communications studies, said.
Stephen Kucera, student support director and graduate student in accounting, proposed a compromise: separate votes with joint conversation.
This would allow CTCs to independently make decisions on fee proposals, while TFSC would have room to make their concerns known without being bound to their narrow role of determining whether the fee proposal process was followed properly.
Members of TFSC agreed that this would encourage critical thinking on the part of CTCs and prevent “groupthink,” which some saw in recent CTCs like that of the recently passed personal financial planning fee.
“PFP is one of those programs that’s super small, it’s really close knit,” said Trent Kennedy, former federal relations director for SGA and senior in entrepreneurship. “I question the amount of groupthink going on between program leaders and students in the undergraduate degree program. … If you’re getting your information from administrators or a group of administrators who are all faculty, and that’s your only source of information and perspective, then that’s guiding the way that you think about the fee.”