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Correction appended.

The Undergraduate Council of Students approved a resolution urging an addition of $8 to the student activities fee at Wednesday's meeting, which would raise the fee to $178 for the 2010-2011 academic year. The UCS Student Activities Committee, chaired by Brady Wyrtzen '11, developed the proposal, which passed without dissent.

Before the University implements this additional funding for student groups, the resolution must pass through the University Resources Committee, President Ruth Simmons and the Corporation, which will probably announce its decision in February, according to UCS President Clay Wertheimer '10.

"It's not going to happen overnight," Wertheimer said, but "I think we are making a strong case for it."

The increase to the fee does not mean that $8 will be added to tuition, but instead that an additional $8 will be allocated from next year's paid tuition fees.
"Each year, tuition increases, so it's not necessarily taking away from other things," Wyrtzen said of the proposal. 

Reasons behind the decision to press for more funding include the growing number of student groups, increased costs for the Facilities Management to help groups hold events and limited funds from academic departments that students previously turned to, Wyrtzen added.

"We're very hopeful that we've worked out the increase in cost very clearly," he said.

The total increase in the student activities budget under this plan is about $44,000, according to the proposal. Approximately $34,000 account for supporting new Category II and III groups, and $10,000 account for increased costs of services, staffing and supervision for events.

"The money will definitely help new groups to blossom as new interests develop and new students have the will to create new organizations," UCS Communications Chair Evan Holownia '11 said. Still, "financial aid and maintaining the academic structures of the University" should be prioritized when it comes to funding, he added. "We understand that we need to be financially wary."

Considering past years, the proposed addition of $8 to the fee is "not revolutionary by any means," Wyrtzen said. Last year, UCS requested $8 and received $6; the previous year, it was granted $10 in response to an ambitious request of $54.

Wertheimer told the UCS general body that he met with Vice President for Campus Life and Student Services Margaret Klawunn, who was "pleased" with this year's proposal.

Tuition increases about 3.5 percent every year, but increases in the student activities fee from year to year have been "more gradual," according to Wyrtzen, who said the resolution "represents students petitioning to have a slice of what we give to the University stay in our hands."

"It's an opportunity to help maintain the student experience here," said Student Activities Director Philip O'Hara. "Brown is continuing to invest in new programs and new people."

At the beginning of the meeting, Vice President of Public Affairs and University Relations Marisa Quinn and Director of State and Community Relations Al Dahlberg gave a presentation on the history and current state of Providence property and student taxes.

Besides meeting with Providence Mayor David Cicilline '83, the administration has been brainstorming ways to convince the government that "keeping higher education accessible and affordable is paramount," Quinn said, including social networking and other grassroots tactics.

Quinn and Dahlberg took students' suggestions for ways to counter the myth that Brown does not already contribute to Providence's economic well-being and gain support for an alternative solution to the city's fiscal problems.

An earlier version of this article in incorrectly identified Vice President for Campus Life and Student Services Margaret Klawunn as the chair of the University Resources Committee. Klawunn is not a member of the committee.


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