USG to propose increase to student programming fee

The Undergraduate Student Government is suggesting a $1 increase to the student programming fee to make up for miscommunication between treasurers and also to keep up with rising costs. If approved, the student programming fee will total $56.50 per semester, and USG will add an additional $30,000 to its budget.

USG has surveyed student interest and determined that an increase to the programming fee, which students pay every semester, will help it better serve students, President Holden Slusher said. The fee increase must be approved by Student Affairs and the Board of Trustees before it is enacted.

USG found itself shortchanged this year because of miscommunication that arose the last time they proposed a fee increase in 2008.

The proposed 50 cent increase was approved by Student Affairs, and, as USG budgeted for the 2008-2009 school year, they included the extra 50 cents. The trustees vetoed the budget, however, and the veto was not communicated properly to USG. USG was surprised to learn they would not have the $15,000 extra they had anticipated, and, because of the communication issue, Student Affairs chose to compensate USG.

But in 2009, the outgoing treasurer did not adequately communicate the situation to current treasurer Ashwin Appiah. USG drew up their budget and included the extra $15,000 that Student Affairs had provided to compensate for the previous year’s error, only to find out that the $15,000 payment was a one-time compensation.

To avoid this kind of mistake in the future, Slusher told Appiah to be cautious.

“This year, we lost $15,000 but, because of mandatory university policies, we had to give all of our staff … a 3 percent pay raise, so it’s like ‘great, that money comes out of programming or somewhere else,’” Slusher said. “We’d have to get really creative and I think it’s something we’ve already done. And sometimes it’s really hard.”

With the $1 increase, USG hopes to offset costs and to continue offering the quality of programs they do now.

USG was not particularly hindered by the missing $15,000 this year, Slusher said, because supplemental funding accrued when more students enrolled than expected, thus allowing USG to collect more programming fees.

Still, the situation was not ideal.

“We had to adjust to operate like normal,” Slusher said.

A survey sent out in November asked students if they would be willing to increase the programming fee, and one question asked if they would be willing to pay more for “bigger and better talent,” according to Appiah.

“The overwhelming response was ‘yes, we would like an increase,’” Appiah said. “I saw that the increase was more than a dollar, so a lot of people would want an increase in the student programming fee for bigger and better events.”

Helena Wichova, a junior majoring in biomedical engineering, said she agrees an increase would be good if used in the right ways.

“I’m not really sure where USG is putting their money,” Wichova said. “Although I’m sure I’m benefiting from some of the programs that it funds.”

Sean Perry, a junior majoring in economics and mathematics, also said he agrees that an increase in the programming fee would be beneficial.

“I think it’s a good idea if they have a lot of money to do a lot of good things,” Perry said. “I know other schools have to pay more because the students get bigger name artists to perform. USC seems like it’s a little bit below the other schools.”

Click here for an extended interview with USG’s Ashwin Appiah.

3 replies
  1. activist
    activist says:

    No way!!!! I’m going to rally a sit-in like they did in Westwood. This is unfair!!!!!

    Everything should be provided by the government, society owes it to us!!!

  2. chuck
    chuck says:

    the programming is already mediocre, at best. once we start getting decent performers again (the bravery, lupe fiasco, etc…) and none of that ok go / jamie kennedy b.s… then we’ll talk about a justifiable increase. usg should seriously have a way to measure how well their events have gone. quite honestly, the past year and half in programming has been pretty lame, especially when compared to our neighboring schools.

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