UNH Student Senate’s new bylaws regarding the Student Activity Fee Committee (SAFC) will go in effect on May 1. These changes will return the system to how it was at the start of the 2015-16 academic year.
With these new bylaws, six student senators will have gained the ability to vote, as well as the student body president’s office. These bylaws will also prompt the loss of SAFC voting ability for the following representatives: the Student Activity Fee Financial Consultant, the Coordinator of Student Organizations and Leadership, and business managers of student organizations.
The Student Activity Fee is a required annual fee that all full-time undergraduate students must pay. This academic year, the fee was $98 per student. According to the bylaws, SAFC’s purpose is to serve as the governing body for Student Activity Fee Organizations, as it pertains to their budgets with the committee.
“I think that what we did then was in the best interest of the students,” junior Lincoln Crutchfield said. Crutchfield is filling in as the Interim Student Activity Fee Committee Chairperson while also serving on the UNH Board of Trustees as Student Trustee.
The thought process behind the change to the bylaws, according to Crutchfield, was that since the MUB professionals do not actually have to pay the fee, as they are not students, they shouldn’t be liable to vote on such matters. In regards to the business managers, it is a more subjective issue, as there is a realm of possibility that they would vote with a sense of bias for their own organizations.
“When you’re on SAFC, you’re representing the student body. The ultimate authority does rest with the students,” Crutchfield said.
Crutchfield admitted that there are people who are unhappy with the decision, but noted that they are primarily business managers. “You really don’t get much out of being on student senate, but helping your fellow Wildcats,” Crutchfield said.
“We spent the whole year chatting with folks, conversing, and talking to people [about] what their concerns were,” Crutchfield said. “Business managers have a vested interest in their organizations. That’s not a bad thing. That’s a fact.”
The vote needed a two-thirds majority. It passed with one nay; 36 out of 37 students were in attendance for the session, and 35 out of the 36 senators voted.
On April 15, a meeting was held announcing the decision, which included what Crutchfield described as “a heated exchange of words and then it was all over in… ten minutes.”
“I think the meeting was short because of the tremendous hours of outrage. Any questions that folks had I think were answered,” Crutchfield said.
Student Body Vice President Ryan Grogan made note that “the plan was always to change the bylaws at some point.”
According to Grogan, Student Senate looked at the system of other universities within the New Hampshire system along with bench-mark institutions when they were deciding on the bylaw changes.