Students can see where their money goes

For students who wonder about a $308 student fee added to their tuition, the annual student fee hearings might be a good place to find some answers. The hearings begin this month, and all interested students are allowed to attend.

In previous years, a small conference room was used. That room is barely large enough to hold the student council itself, so in order to encourage student participation, the hearings will now be held at Centre Stage. According to Student Body President Richard Portwood, this should serve notice to students that they are invited.

“By opening the fee hearings to a larger venue we hope to send a signal to all students that they are welcome, as well as showing our commitment to transparency of our decision making and budgets,” Portwood said.

Portwood also hopes that students understand that their attendance at these meetings can mean more than simply receiving information.

“We, the student council, represent the students and therefore student participation and input is very important in our decision making,” Portwood said. “This is the students’ opportunity to have a say in their student fees.”

For those who can’t see how they could possibly have “input” into student fees, it is important to understand that UVU is different than other schools in the state in that the student council is highly responsible for the raising, lowering and allocation of student fees. Although ultimately responsible to the administration, the council is allowed to present a specific budget regarding the use of student fees to the administration for approval.

“No other student government in the state has a process this student centered,” Portwood said.

During the hearings, each organization that has received funds from student fees will present an accounting of their use of fees received the previous school year. They can then request more or less funding if desired. These presentations will occur Jan. 20 and 27, and Feb. 3, each time at noon at Center Stage. Students in attendance will be allowed to present questions or comments to the student council during an allotted time.

After the conclusion of the presentations, the council will discuss the issues for a couple of weeks before voting on any changes to the budgeting of student fees. After voting, the new plan will be presented to first the President’s Council for approval, then the Board of Trustees, and finally the Board of Regents.