A recent press release from the University of Michigan’s Central Student Government introduced the Student Fee Advisory Committee, which was originally announced on March 8 and is co-chaired by the presidents of CSG and Rackham Student Government. In coordination with E. Royster Harper, the University’s vice president for student life, this committee of nine students will meet twice during both the fall and winter terms next year.
As stated in the press release, the committee will work to increase the participation of students in activities and organizations on campus before developing student fees and making recommendations to the University’s Board of Regents, and will also give feedback on the needs of students, specifically in relation to these fees.
By providing students with more opportunities to voice their opinions and concerns, the SFAC looks to continue encouraging the input of students. In the press release, CSG President David Schafer, LSA senior, spoke specifically of this importance.
“The elevation of student voice in as many avenues of University decision-making as possible has been one of our major goals this year,” he said.
The recommendations the committee makes will come directly from the consensus of its members. If a consensus cannot be reached, a majority recommendation will instead be used for student fee approval and allocation.
In an email interview, CSG Communications Director Joseph Shea, a Public Policy senior, said SFAC will provide students with a way to connect more directly with upper-level administration and to have a say in the impact of fees affecting both their tuition and their participation in campus organizations.
“The student fee is a powerful tool: it permits the allocation of financial resources towards pressing on-campus concerns,” he wrote. “When I was a first year student, the Proppe administration increased the student fee in order to provide additional funding for student organizations. As this administration winds down, we felt it was important to have an institutionalized body that is both independent of CSG and will represent students in discussions on any student-fee related issues with the Vice President of Student Life.”
LSA sophomore Chang Yang wrote in an email she was not aware she pays for services such as CSG.
“I definitely would like to hear more about this new CSG committee because any increased communication between our student body and the Regents in terms of how effectively the students’ money is spent is good,” she wrote.