A&S fees budget needs closer scrutiny

Do your student senators ever thank you for the polo shirts and name badges you purchased for them? Do they thank you for the bus rides, game tickets, and per diem they receive on these trips? The student senate has a direct impact on campus morale.

They budget and allocate all Activity and Service (A&S) Fees, to A&S funded organizations and events such as the homecoming concert. The 39th student senate seems to be making decisions with A&S money without the general consensus of the students.

Student senators are supposed to budget and allocate A&S money using logic with keeping students in mind. However, with pricey renovations being made to the senate chambers, it seems the senate may have lost sight of these objectives.

As written in the Student Body Constitution Chapter 702 Section 1, “The allocation and expenditure of student A&S Fees shall be determined by the SGA Senate.” The 39th student senate recently passed a bill for an $80,000 smart room, which will be located in the senate chambers of the Student Union building.

According to Iman Sandifer, the student relations committee chairman, $51,000 of the $80,000 comes from A&S Fees.

The remaining amount will be covered by technology fees, which also come from tuition.

Sandifer said the room is 40 percent complete.

The student relations committee chairman said, “The room is basically a formal location for registered organizations to hold meetings with updated technology. The room will be available for the entire university. The room will also feature video conference technology that will enable us to chat with other university senate chambers throughout Florida’s university system,” said Sandifer.

According to the A&S budget, which is available to every student upon request in the SGA office, $1,578,377.65 of the entire $3.2 million is paying for SGA Joint operations, campus recreation and the Office of Student Union Activities.

Just in case you are unaware of what these entities consist of, A&S fees pay for utilities of all A&S funded buildings, the staff that clean the buildings, administrators who operate the buildings and the supplies they require.

More than 49 percent of our A&S fees go toward funding the student union and related entities. With money being so tight, students deserve senators who realize money should not be spent on something as worthless as a smart room, especially when the senate chambers are occupied with various SGA branch meetings throughout the day.

Students must hold SGA accountable. Although the idea for a smart room has good intentions behind it, it seems a little unreasonable due to the fact that the senate will be using the room most of time.

Students elect these senators to allocate and budget A&S money using logic and fiscal responsibility.