Student Senators failed a bill in full Senate Wednesday night that would have reduced the Student Union Activities student fee by 50 cents.
The bill will go back to the Finance Committee for the second time, so senators can reevaluate the fee. The remaining bills that make up the fiscal year 2021 fee package, including Senate’s $7.50 increase for Counseling and Psychological Services, passed during the meeting.
SUA President Cody Murray spoke at the meeting to advocate for keeping the fee at $5.25.
If Senate’s proposed cut goes forward, Murray said SUA will likely cancel Carnival, an annual event that provides entertainment and attractions for University students and Lawrence residents.
“We do know that a lot of folks will be concerned about the event, just like when we cut it previously,” Murray said.
Finance Committee Chair Andrew Moore said the main reason for the proposed cut was SUA’s print advertising budget, which he said was on the higher side, despite the current push for digital media.
University Affairs Committee Chair Max Schieber spoke against cutting the fund, citing how posters are more noticeable than social media and how Carnival was one of his favorite memories of his freshman year.
Student Senate voted to increase student fees by $15, bringing the total to $506.95 per student per semester.
Graduate Senator Brittney Oleniacz, on the other hand, spoke in support of the cut, advising SUA members to be “selective” in their printing styles and discussing how other services are more in need of the funding.
“This year in particular, we have a lot of increases going to a lot of important things like CAPS and making sure Watkins’ building isn’t flooding and molding,” Oleniacz said. “I don’t want to pin fees up against each other, but we also have to prioritize where the student money is going.”
Last semester, Senate passed a bill to amend Student Senate Rules and Regulations which made each fee an individual bill. If one bill fails, the rest are still able to be moved forward, and those organizations can get their fees approved. In the past, all fees were on a single bill.
The passed fee bills will now go to Chancellor Douglas Girod and the Kansas Board of Regents for approval, and the SUA funding bill will go back to the Finance Committee for further review.
SUA is a student-led event planning organization administered by the Kansas Union, according to its website. SUA puts on various events at the Union, including dinners, concerts and social events. In 2019, SUA held three sold-out concerts and the largest Union Fest in history, Murray said.
—Edited by Brianna Wessling