Committee makeup doesn’t represent students’ interest

Increased student representation in administrative decisions is always a positive move. But the advances made by the Student Fee Committee, which will present its recommendations for next year’s student fees at today’s Board of Trustees meeting, don’t necessarily amplify the student body’s voice.

The committee is made up of seven voting members, each representing a group that received student fees last year, according to a Thursday Kernel article.

Yes, a student committee directly making recommendations to the board is a great thing. And yes, such representation is far overdue.

But while the student groups are represented in the committee’s makeup, the average student not involved in a student group who still pays student fees is not.

In essence, this committee is a body more sensitive to their own funding needs than what is fair to have students pay.

The committee should expand for next year to add more than just students involved in fee-receiving groups.

This would accurately increase the student voice to the Board of Trustees. It would also keep the committee members involved in campus organizations sensitive to the views of students who are forced to pay the fees but who might not benefit from them like the group members.

Also, the recommended rise in fees for next year is a concern. Both the recommendations from the committee and the vice president of Student Affairs call for a more than $35 increase in fees per semester.

In a time when the state Legislature swiftly unloaded its responsibility of funding higher education, tuition is rising while the quality of a UK education is not. All parts of the university need to cut back on their consumption, and this includes fees that go to student groups.

Small increases add up. And while all the groups that receive fees are important and benefit the larger campus community, it is also crucial that a committee claiming to represent the voice of the students actually does so. If not, the body is reduced to a self-appropriating organization with little appearance to fully embodying student views.