In October 2014, the Associated Students of Fort Lewis College proposed a new student fee to raise funds to compensate members of ASFLC with a scholarship.
The proposed fee would increase student costs by 15 cents, per student, per credit hour, Chloe Canterbury, director of the Financial Allocation Board, said.
Senators will get up to $500 per semester, based on individual workload, Canterbury, said.
This scholarship could vary with the increases and decreases of student enrollment, she said.
“The Institutional Fee Review Board is the first step when a new fee is introduced,” Canterbury said.
Seven students make up the IFRB: three student senators, the student body president, the financial allocation manager, and two students at large, Michele Peterson, the associate vice president of finance and administration, said.
The IFRB was concerned that a senate proposed increase in student fees to raise funds for a student government scholarship could come off as somewhat self serving, Peterson said.
The IFRB modified the original proposal to include that half of the generated money would be allocated to Registered Student Organizations and grants, and the other half of the funds would fund senators’ scholarships, Canterbury said.
However, Peterson said, “Splitting the fee was not really in the realm of what IFRB should have considered.”
“The Budget Committee felt that since the original request was for scholarship funds, that splitting the money would be creating a whole new request, so they approved the original request as submitted,” she said.
“I don’t mind that they will get the scholarships, I just don’t like that they have to increase student fees to get a scholarship,” Canterbury said.
Canterbury was in favor of this student fee increase, until the FLC Budget Committee reverted it back to the original proposal, she said.
The ASFLC’s executive team is made up of President Scott Greenler, Vice President Phil Carter, and Speaker of the Senate Haydn Collard. This team is the driving force behind the fee proposal, Scott Greenler, the president of the ASFLC, said.
Other institutions provide financial compensation for their students’ work on student government, he said.
“Fort Lewis is one of the only schools in the state that does not provide compensation for their student senators,” Peterson said.
Student senators at Colorado State University in Pueblo receive $1,800, per year, University of Colorado Boulder student government senators receives $2,600 per year, and Metropolitan State offers $6,000 per year to student senators, Greenler said.
Other student governments in the state have confirmed that they receive their compensation through student fees. However, as universities like CU Boulder have a larger enrollment than FLC, they typically have an easier time generating funds to compensate their senators, he said.
This scholarship will hold senators accountable for their work, Greenler said. “We hope it will strengthen our position to represent our students.”
Greenler also argues that students who have to hold a job to financially sustain his or her education could use this money as a positive form of supplemental income, allowing for a wider range of the student body to consider participation in student government, he said.
“Its a very hard decision for the budget committee when you have two groups of students saying different things,” Peterson said.
On one hand we have student council making appeal for compensation, on the other, the IFRB was concerned with making sure that the student body was represented fairly, she said
FLC’s Board of Trustees will review the proposed student fee during their first meeting of the 2015 semester, on Feb. 13. At this meeting, the Board’s review process will determine the final outcome of the proposal.