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Rocklin OKs split for student activity fees

BY MICHELE DANNO | MARCH 26, 2009 7:40 AM

Tom Rocklin, the UI interim vice president for Student Services, authorized splitting student-activity-fee allocation rights between the UI Student Government and the Executive Council of Graduate and Professional Students, he announced on Wednesday.

Rocklin also called for a referendum to be placed on the UISG ballot in the upcoming election April 13-14, allowing students to vote on whether they want to mandate Rocklin’s interim policy for future student-activity-fee allocations.

While the Executive Council said Rocklin’s decision is a step in the right direction, UISG officials said they will “not comply” with these changes and continue to follow the Partnership of Student Governance at Iowa. That partnership bound the two groups together before the Executive Council withdrew from it.

The new policy would allow for joint funding for much of the student activity fees, while splitting part of it between the two student governments, Rocklin said.

“In short, a joint committee including representation from UISG and the Executive Council will make recommendations for allocations among the groups that serve the campus broadly,” Rocklin said, and the remaining funds will be split, in proportion to the fees paid, between UISG and the Executive Council to allocate “as they see fit.”

This will change the current Student Assembly Budgeting and Allocating Committee, which is made up of six UISG representatives and three Executive Council representatives who formerly voted on allocations together. The number of group members on each side was in proportion to the 76 percent of the student activity fee generated by undergraduate students and 24 percent generated by graduate students.

The Executive Council had been calling for a system that gives them more of a say to where graduate student money goes.

“I think that it’s a huge step in the right direction away from a system where UISG decides how graduate students’ money is spent,” Executive Council President Steve Wieland said. “The undergraduates can no longer spend our money without our consent. We are very pleased with the administration intervening to ensure that we have something close to a fair system.”

UISG President Maison Bleam said changing the current system will be detrimental to the undergraduates.

“When it comes time to pass the budgets, undergraduates will only get 50 percent of the vote,” Bleam said. “We contribute 76 percent of the fee. It doesn’t make sense mathematically for them to get veto power over the majority.”

Bleam said UISG officials will fight Rocklin’s proposal and appeal it on campus. If that doesn’t work, they may appeal to the state Board of Regents, Bleam said.

UISG officials also plan to make sure the referendum stays off of the general election ballot next month, Bleam said, adding the issue should have its own election so it does not interfere with the electing a new UISG leader.

The prospective new leaders of UISG are Mike Currie and JD Moran of the “Go Party,” Emily Grieves and Alexandra Keenan of “Your Party,” and Ryan Kopf and Gary Ohrt of the “L Party.” Their campaigns will begin March 30.


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