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ASG approves creation of task force to evaluate allocation of student fees

By Deanna Krokos, For The Miami Student

On Tuesday, the Miami Associated Student Government (ASG) passed a measure to authorize a Student Activity Fee Task Force. The bill was authored by Nate Lombardi, vice president of student organizations, and Connor O'Hearn, off-campus senator, and will create a student-run task force to examine general fee allocation through the 2020 fiscal year.

The task force will be composed of select student senators, at-large undergraduate students and members of the Miami faculty and staff, as appointed by the student body president. It will explore the use of the student activity fee at Miami compared with other universities and examine past allocation patterns.

Currently, Miami University students pay $1,860 on a per-semester basis toward the general fee. Every year, the university collects roughly $28 million in fees under this distinction, with only about 4 percent being allocated for student activities and organizations. That 4 percent is then split between club sports, MAP, Slant Design and student organization funding. This task force was proposed to give Miami students a voice throughout the fee allocation process.

"It isn't a conversation that a lot of administrators have wanted to have," co-author Nate Lombardi said while presenting the bill to the Student Senate. "But, it's a student priority."

The task force will have the full backing of the Associated Student Government and be funded through the ASG budget. They will begin working on examining the previous allocation models of Miami and other universities regarding the general fee.

"My first goal is specifically to define the timeline of the student fee and how allocative decisions were made in the past and see how much student input there was," Lombardi said.

The task force is similarly situated with a lot of changes on the Miami campus, lined up with the administration's 2020 plan. By the 2020 budget cycle, the ASG will have the option to either renew or end the authorization for the task force.

One specific concern the task force will be focusing on is the relatively large general fee that funds intercollegiate athletics and athletic scholarships. As time goes by and the task force accomplishes some its early and more exploratory goals, the forthcoming vice presidents of student organizations will expand inquiry and continue to advocate for the student body in future conversations regarding budget and fee allocations.

"This gives us a realistic timeline, for the way budgets work with something as contentious as a student fee readjustment," Lombardi said.

The task force will take on new objectives each year according to the priorities of its members.

"This is through the year 2020, so its going to be a long struggle … but we're obviously here to do it," senator and co-author O'Hearn said.

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