Student Senate Graphic (fee review)

Student Senate passed the drafted fee bill in their Feb. 22 meeting, increasing the individual fee by $14.45 to a total of $507.05 per student. This marks the first time student fee has been over $500.

Editor’s note: This story is part of ongoing coverage of the Kansan's funding. Editors-in-chief Sara Maloney and Hannah Nystrom and News Editor Matthew Petillo did not report or edit this article. To learn more about the Kansan's policy of conflict of interest, read the Kansan's policy and guidelines.

The complete University of Kansas Student Senate Assembly discussed the Required Campus Fee Package and seven funding bills Wednesday night.

Over the past few weeks, the Fee Oversight Committee allocated $20.9 million for the upcoming school year. Camden Baxter, chair of the committee, presented the drafted campus fee package.

Baxter also asked the assembly to vote upon an increase in required student fees by $14.45, totaling $507.05 per student. It will be the first time in student fee review history that the fee will exceed $500. 

Recurring topics of the night were the fee allocation increases to Parking and Transit, Watkins Health Services and Counseling and Psychological Services. 

“We increased CAPS by five dollars, and that was the bare minimum to keep the lights on. This is a phrase we’re going to use a lot here,” Baxter said. “Just because these organizations are in such desperate needs of funding to just operate, to exist.”

Representatives from the University Daily Kansan spoke at the meeting to advocate for an increase in its allocated fee to pay its staff and bring more diversity to the organization. 

“The Kansan’s goal has always been to highlight student voices, and that becomes a challenge when we are the only media outlet that doesn’t pay any of its employees,” co-editor-in-chief Sara Maloney said. 

A representative from the Student Union Activities, Thanh Tan Nguyen, came to the meeting to discuss the damage the cut to their fees would do to the student body. 

“It is a loss of $12,600 in revenue, which means 16 events aren’t going to be put out by SUA,” Nguyen said. “That is equivalent to five weeks’ worth of activities hosted by SUA.”

Senators Colin Campbell and Farzad Janjua gave positive speeches on behalf of the drafted bill, advocating for the assembly to pass the proposed campus fee package. 

“We came to the conclusion that it was unfair for us to give an increase to the UDK if we were not giving one to KJHK,” Janjua said. 

In his speech supporting the drafted fee package, Campbell talked about how the fees can’t keep up with the wants and needs of the affected organizations.

“Given that inflation was rising higher than we could raise the fee, we’re definitely not in an expansion mode,” Campbell said. “Every single increase we’ve made here has been to keep the lights on or listen to student feedback.”

The assembly voted upon the drafted campus fee package; if it failed, it would be returned to the committee. It passed 32-5.

The assembly passed bills to fund KU Gaymers, the Hygge club, the Environs Club, KU STUMO, the Muslim Student Association, Model UN, and Jayhawk Motorsports. They spent $19,628.19 on the funding bills.

The student councils will meet on March 1, and the complete assembly will gather again on March 8.