A common Michigan Student Assembly campaign pledge is to push for more student groupfunding. It is a worthy cause. More than 800 student groups exist on campus and last year, groups requested about $616,000 of assembly funds. In return, MSA”s Budget and Priorities Commission was only able to dole out $137,649 to student groups.
The funds are simply not there for student groups. That is why student leaders are pushing for a $1 increase in MSA student fees. And the campus should listen and vote “yes” on the MSA fee increase request. Students in the College of Literature, Science and the Arts should do the same for a similar, but targeted fee increase within the college.
MSA President Matt Nolan told the Daily that if the student body supports the fee increase and if the assembly can convince the administration and the University Board of Regents to go along with the plan, more student groups could receive funding or the current number of groups already receiving funds may see a $100 increase.
The student body has valid complaints about the effectiveness of the assembly. But students must recognize that MSA”s most important responsibility is distributing funding to student groups. An increased fee means more money to students plain and simple.
Other universities in the Big Ten have much higher student fees. There is no good reason why students in Ann Arbor, who are among the most involved and active students in the Big Ten should be limited by a general lack of funding.
Some assembly members have raised questions about the language of the ballot initiative.
MSA should ensure that the full $73,000 that would be raised by the increase goes to student groups as indicated by the proposal. Fee increase critics argue that only a percentage of the increase would go to student groups, while other funds would go to MSA administrative and other assembly costs.
While this should not prevent students from voting the initiative down, the assembly should pass a resolution or, if necessary, an MSA Code amendment to ensure that all the money goes to student groups as promised.
All student groups deserve more money for their activities.
n Vote yes on the fee increase at http://www.umich.edu/vote.