By Tyler Kennedy
A bylaw proposed by Student Body Vice-President Ryan Grogan to change the meeting time of the Student Activity Fee Committee was passed by the student senate on Sunday night. With this change, SAFC will now meet during one of the three common exam periods beginning next semester. Prior to this vote, the committee met every Tuesday from 12:40 to 2 p.m., which does not fall during a common exam time.
The Student Activity Fee is an annual fee that is paid by full-time undergraduate students, and those funds are then allocated by a committee run by students. With this fee, students receive a return through student programming services and other student activities. The fee for the 2015/16 academic year is $98.
Prior to this semester, SAFC meetings and common exam time coincided with each other. However, a motion was passed on Oct. 20, 2014 to switch common exam time from Tuesday and Thursday 12:40 to 2 p.m. to Friday 2:10 to 5 p.m.
This new common exam time was implemented into the UNH system at the beginning of this year and will stay in effect until the end of the 2016 academic year.
According to Student Body President Cameron Cook, the number of students not on the committee attending SAFC meetings has gone down recently in comparison to previous years. Cook believes this decrease is a direct effect of the meetings not being conducted during common exam time.
“I have noticed that people have not attended as much, and that has a lot to do with classes. There are people who have to take Tuesday 12:40 p.m. classes sometimes, it could just be part of their major,” Cook said.
When the motion was first made to switch the time of SAFC meetings back to common exam time, Cook initially agreed with the concept fully.
“I think we need to provide a space for students to be able to go to these meetings, and I think having it during a common exam time is much more convenient for students,” Cook remarked.
According to Abby Martinen, who serves as the student activity fee committee chairperson, there was a process at the end of last year to decide on whether or not to change the SAFC meeting times.
“The decision to keep the meeting time as the old common exam time was made at the end of last year in an effort to keep continuity in the committee and with those who would need to attend,” Martinen said.
Martinen also made it clear that last year’s SAFC executive board took a poll from students who would sit on the committee this coming year about what times would work better. Keeping the time the same was the response from the overwhelming majority.
According to Martinen, SAFC has yet to encounter a problem with a student organization that needed to attend the meeting and was unable to because of a time-related issue.
Prior to Sunday night’s decision by the student senate, Lincoln Crutchfield was one such student who thought the time of SAFC meetings should be altered to provide the broader UNH community the greatest access to its democratic process.
“The current time of the meetings is not a time that works for all students should they want to go. The current time concerns me not because students aren’t going, students may not go for a plethora of reasons, rather that students should have the opportunity to go, and the window of opportunity is significantly smaller when held during a class period,” Crutchfield said.
The decision as to which common exam time block SAFC will use to meet will be decided in the upcoming few weeks.