In this manner, student government officials hope to ensure that the value of their chunk of the student activity fee stays the same from year to year.
Although we respect the principle being applied, making this increase referendum-free is not a necessary course of action to undertake at this time.
Student Congress controls the amount of funds the majority of student organizations receive.
The student body rarely has voted to increase the student activity fee. The last adjustment was approved in spring 2003, but before that, the fee had not been increased significantly since 1984.
There are times in government when bureaucracy is needed, and this is one such case. Allowing student officials to adjust the student government fee without approval runs the risk of allowing frivolous spending without the accountability that comes from requiring students' approval for more money.
Instead, student fees should be reviewed when increases are needed, just as they are now.
The current process works and has proved time and again that it is necessary to review each funding request put forth by individuals. It should remain the duty of student government to initiate the legislation needed to raise funds for student organizations. That way, groups must prove there is a need before they ask for any increases.
Adjusting any student fee for inflation without consulting students essentially assumes that student groups will provide the same quality of services as they do now. Should the referendum pass, student government will continue to receive money even if its overall contribution to the University's atmosphere declines.
If more money is needed for student government to operate and function, officials should appeal to the student body via a referendum for more funds. It's important that the case must be made to students, because it is students who must pay for the increase.
Adjusting student fees without student approval wouldn't just mean skipping a formality. The referendum that approved the 2003 increase passed with just 53.1 percent of the vote. The Daily Tar Heel editorial board endorsed that specific adjustment, but that's because we trusted the specific organizations that would manage those funds at that specific time; we can't simply conjecture that the leaders of tomorrow will be just as good as those of today.
The current process for raising student fees protects students and encourages officials to pursue other avenues of funding the fees.
If officials circumvent student opinion to increase fees, they will relieve the administration of its duty of finding other sources - this is troublesome, because that check in the system is needed.
Every effort should be made by both student leaders and University officials to prevent students from paying more than they need to.
Passing the cost of a raise on to students should only happen when all other avenues have been exhausted.
An approval-free fee increase will only harm this process.