Undergraduates shot down the idea of a third-party being elected to serve as the SBP. In the next election cycle, the SBP will be determined by an election between both individual student governments’ presidents.
Graduate student fees were discussed at length during the meeting. The Senators were briefed on a new parking fee coming next year, one which will affect undergraduate students too. The raise will be between $5 to $15 and will allow all students besides first-years to park on campus at night.
Although the fee is still undergoing the University’s approval process, Percy said chances of the fee not being approved are slim to none. Money budgeted for regional transport and Point-to-Point operation is included in the increase, so for Chapel Hill’s transportation network to function the raise must be approved by the Board of Trustees. If it's not, Percy said Chapel Hill Transit will not be funded.
Percy said Campus Health was also requesting additional fees next year from graduate students.
“Turns out,” she said. “They’ve been operating under a large deficit for a number of years.”
The perpetually increasing fees are concerning to graduate students, who are concerned the University is unfairly taxing them. Percy told the Senate about an encounter she had with a BOT member, and she explained that the University gives graduate students a stipend, then asks for money back through various fees.
“One trustee described that as ‘horse-shit,’” Percy said. “The louder we yell, the more annoying we get and they can’t ignore us quite as well.”
The GPSF allocates funds for graduate students seeking funding for their academic endeavors who have no other options. The money comes from a student fee.
“This was a weak cycle,” Coussens said, as the list of applications for money flashed on the large projector screens behind him. There were 22 applications, with only seven accepted in full.
The graduate student-run literary journal The Carolina Quarterly sent a representative to the meeting and spoke on behalf of the publication, asking for $5,000 dollars to publish the next two editions of their journal.
It was the only funding request heard out during the meeting, and was not approved, as the journal did not provide invoices for what exactly the money would be spent on.
“It seems suspicious somewhat that they’re asking for this amount of money they don’t have hard numbers they can give to us tonight,” said Sen. Aaron Brown, who’s on the appropriations committee. “Personally, I would love to have the opportunity to give them a fair chance at receiving funding.”