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Student Activity Fee Board to Discuss Voting Membership

At Friday’s Student Activity Fee Board meeting, UPUA Chairman Spencer Malloy motioned to form a subcommittee to discuss membership of the board, and more specifically, the voting status of the University Park Allocation Committee chair. UPAC is an organization comprised of University Park students that works to allocate a portion the student activity fee funds that we all pay separate from our tuition.

While explaining his rationale for the proposed subcommittee, Malloy said that “the student activity fee is only justifiable by the fact that it consults the student body, done best through constituent outreach.” He went on to say that he does not believe that the UPAC chair, currently a voting member of the Student Activity Fee Board, should continue in that capacity because there is a “discrete responsibility between allocating and receiving information, and funding.”

Malloy was also concerned that “policy-nature decisions are made by organizations that aren’t as critically evaluated and equitably recognized in terms of voting and public comment.” He questioned whether or not voting affects UPAC’s allocation decisions, and believes that there is somewhat of a conflict of interest for the UPAC chair.

Commonwealth Campus Student Government President Ben Clark jumped in on the discussion, stating that he was concerned that without voting status, the UPAC chair might lose interest in the Student Activity Fee Board. He added that he is typically the member who knows the student activity fee handbook better than anyone else.

Jesse Scott, the current UPAC chair, argued that by not being on a particular government or group makes his position uniquely neutral which is a “valuable point of view for any committee,” as he does not have a specific constituency or sub-group.

Clark added that the board takes on too much at one time, and that they haven’t even gotten into preliminary discussions on student activity fee levels. Malloy agreed that it is fair to say that the board is committed to quite a lot, but is concerned that the board is “walking in circles,” as they continue to rehash old conversations that were seemingly already settled in past years. He argued that starting a new conversation on a more relevant topic would be more beneficial and sensible for the board, as the “most equitable distribution of voting seeds is a topic that is never going to go away.”

The board then voted by roll call on officially forming a subcommittee to discuss membership of the board. With six votes in favor, five votes against, and one abstention, the motion passed. Scott then motioned to put off the subcommittee until “the student activity fee level has been voted on and at least one subcommittee has completed their work.” It went to roll call again, and this time passed 9-3. Malloy, UPUA President Courtney Lennartz, and GSA President Wanika Fisher were the discenting votes.

This subcommittee will most likely not be formed and start its work until sometime around January, but we will continue to keep you updated on any relevant news related to your student activity fee and the group that works to allocate that money.

About the Author

Zach Berger

Zach Berger is a StateCollege.com reporter and Onward State's Managing Editor Emeritus. You can find him at the Phyrst more nights than not. If he had to pick a last meal, Zach would go for a medium-rare New York strip steak with a side of garlic mashed potatoes and a cold BrewDog Punk IPA. You can reach him via e-mail at [email protected] or on Twitter at @theZachBerger.

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