SGA looking into student fees, considering options

By Katie Smith, A&E Editor

Student fees have been a hot topic of discussion among members of SGA of late, and since the fall semester, the group has had ongoing discussions about things fees are being used for, including Student Accident Shield Insurance, student Genesis memberships and student handbook planners.

SGA President Emily Larkin said, the insurance has been a discussion topic since she was a freshman. However, Larkin said, SGA decisions regarding it and Genesis memberships have been rushed in the past.

“In previous years, this has been a decision that has been made at the very last meeting,” she said. “Student fees are too important to be rushed.”

At the Jan. 23 SGA meeting, Treasurer Courtney Klaus gave a presentation on the history of the insurance coverage and what it means for students.

The insurance was first introduced to SGA by former Athletic Director Vic Trilli in the spring of 2017, and shortly after, SGA passed it. Then, per the university cabinet’s request, the student body voted on the insurance twice. The first vote was vetoed after former SGA President Vivian Hoang declared that coaches telling their athletes how to vote was an ethics violation. Both elections resulted in a ‘yes’ vote for the insurance, and since then, $50 was added to student fees to pay for it.

“As of right now, I am on the ad hoc committee… investigating and researching the best way to move forward regarding student accident insurance… This includes reaching out to non-athlete students as well as athletes to get their opinions… This is an important decision, and we want to make sure we make the best one for the student body,” Senate Leader Jordan Ojile said.

Larkin said she was also investigating how student fees are being used to pay for Genesis Health Club gym memberships for students. After she was sworn in, she said, she started working on negotiating a better contract with Genesis.

“I feel that it’s an important discussion to have and to have this information so that we can look into the contract year after year and make sure that we are really doing what is best for the student body, really putting their money towards what is best for as many students as possible,” she said.

The Genesis membership also costs around $50 per student.

The handbook planners students get each year are another student fee SGA has looked into this year.

SGA conducted a poll that netted 135 responses, and of those, 91 students said they did not use the Student Handbook Planners, while 44 said they did. The senate unanimously passed a resolution asking the president’s cabinet to discontinue the funding to these planners so that the money could be used somewhere else.

“[We] unanimously passed a bill, which is important because we don’t have a lot of unanimous decisions, to get rid of the paper student handbooks because we spend a lot of money on them, and we didn’t think it was very sustainable of us to print so many of these planners,” she said.

Larkin said that she and the other members of SGA are focusing on sustainability as their theme with this initiative and others such as the water bottle fountains that were recently installed around campus.

“We only have one Earth, and we need to save it,” she said.

PHOTO: Courtesy Photo, SGA Twitter