The Undergraduate Council of Students recently decided to increase the student activities fee from $274 to $295. In the meeting, the leaders of the Undergraduate Finance Board recommended the increase, attributing the board’s $130,000 deficit to an influx of clubs requesting categorization that were previously funded by some academic departments. With this information, a question remains: Why is the University adding a financial burden to students by forcing us to pay for groups that were previously funded by our tuition?
According to the resolution, the group must now fund seven Category II and three groups “previously funded by the Department of Engineering and service groups funded by the Swearer Center.” It’s unclear why UFB is taking on Departmental Undergraduate Groups when other documents, such as the DUG leader tip sheet, indicate that DUGS fall under the jurisdiction of academic departments, the Dean of the College and the Curricular Resource Center. Each DUG is eligible for up to $1,000 in annual funding. According to the sheet, last updated on Sept. 22, 2017, the Office of the Dean of the College will match up to $500 provided by an academic department. If this has changed recently, the University certainly hasn’t let us know anything.
As for any groups formerly funded by the Swearer Center now in need of funding — what are they? BRYTE, which was previously funded by the Swearer Center, is now housed under the Alpert Medical School. But that’s all we’ve learned about.
If the University has decided not to fund certain groups, then we should be made aware of that, as those costs will now need to be supplemented by our student activities fee. We encourage the Department of Engineering to explain why it is no longer funding certain groups. And we ask the Swearer Center to be clear about how funding for its groups has changed, as well.
Along with the University, UFB — while it is trying — is not yet transparent enough. It did not name the seven groups that they are now forced to fund, although that would help us to understand the situation they have seemingly been forced into by the University. This problem stems from a general lack of transparency coming from UFB about how they allocate funds. If we are going to be paying the possible $295 dollars for the student activities fee, we’d like to know where our money is going.
Editorials are written by The Herald’s 127th Editorial Board: Lauren Aratani ’18, Matthew Brownsword ’18, Rebecca Ellis ’18 and Kate Talerico ’18. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.