Your Student Life Fee $$$ at Work

Hey folks, take a look at the new budget for next year’s Student Government that was approved by SG’s membership earlier this week. This year GSU was represented in the decision-making by several GSU members who serve on the Graduate Council, not to mention the GSU-endorsed leadership of Tyler Kissinger and his United Progress team.

As you surely know, Student Government is funded by our quarterly Student Life Fee (currently $347 for grad students, headed up to $363 per quarter next year). The chart below, then, is a plan for how to spend our money–or rather, the portion of it that Student Government controls. (The majority of it, some 90 percent, is under the control of various university administrators.) Below the budget itself, stayed tuned for some straight-from-the-hip analysis by GSU members.

As one GSU member (alias: Mr. Goat) notes,

It looks like this year’s increase to grad funding comes in the form of $10K more for travel, $55K more to Grad Council, and $7.5K more to Grad Mixers. (I believe that the proper responses are, respectively, Yay, Bleah (but maybe it’ll be better with Casey), and Huh?)

On the whole, it looks like with the increase, dedicated grad student funding ($214K) is slightly under 10% of the total allocated ($2.18M).

All in all, I think that it’s good that this went through.  We weren’t levying new fees; we were deciding where they went, and I’m glad that slightly more will go to grad students (particularly to the travel fund).  At the same time, I think that we need not fear in the least that the Student Life Fee is now justified.  “We don’t want your wine and cheese” can even apply to those grad mixers.

The question of the skyrocketing Student Life Fee is separate from how that money is allocated. Sure, grad students should get their fair share. But we also need to address how fees tie into the larger system by which the university funds itself and under compensates grad labor.

That’s what Mr. Goat thinks. Another GSU student (alias: the Fighting Frog) writes:

No way is this a legitimate use of our money, whether it’s allocated “for grads” or not. I have deep reservations about the undemocratic forced extraction of student wages for any purpose.

That’s what the Fighting Frog thinks. Is Fighting Frog a crank? Is there a point to Grad Mixers? What about the Sports Club Fund or the Coalition of Academic Teams? What do you think?