SSFC public hearing too soon

Short turnaround time discourages student involvement in fees process.

Editorial board

 

Last week, the Student Services Fees Committee issued initial recommendations on 2013-14 funding levels for student groups and administrative units that will determine the student services fees paid by students taking at least six credits.

As the fee that students have the most direct influence on, this is one potential area where students have the chance to attempt to maintain their own costs.

However, this year, the public comment period for the student groups’ portion fell just two days after the committee issued the initial recommendations. While the committee is to be commended for offering two public comment periods to accommodate different schedules, the short timing is a disservice to both students and the committee and decreases the quality of the comments themselves. 

Such a short window to review a 103-page document and the many additional pages of supporting materials is simply not feasible. Instead of valuable public comments on the neutral application of the criteria set out, comments are likely to devolve into complaints about the overall cost adding little value to the process.

Providing a reasonable amount of time — perhaps a week — for the public to review the recommendations prior to the public comment period would encourage more substantive feedback for the committee.

Although comments are accepted via email throughout the process, the opportunity to voice one’s comments in person adds significant weight by putting a face to the feedback. This would seem to fit within the published schedule, as the committee is not set to deliberate again until March 8.