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Oversight committee passes bill to regulate student fees

A bill that passed through a Student Congress committee Tuesday night would give the full body the power to regulate changes to eight major student fees.

In its inaugural meeting, the oversight committee passed the bill, which would give the body the task of regulating certain fees that are first considered by the student fee audit committee.

Adam Horowitz, chairman of the oversight committee and the bill’s sponsor, said Student Congress has the right to regulate certain fees, including the student activities fee and the safety and security fee.

Article I, Section 4 of Title I of the Student Code gives Student Congress the power to regulate these fees. But these fees would still require a student referendum and the approval of the Board of Trustees or the UNC-system Board of Governors.

“The Student Constitution gives us the right to regulate these fees and Congress has never actually done this,” Horowitz said.

All fees are currently regulated by the student fee audit committee, then passed to the student fee advisory subcommittee and the tuition and fee advisory task force.

This bill, if approved by the rules and judiciary committee and the full body, will give Student Congress the responsibilities of SFAC with respect to the eight fees.

Horowitz said the committee would notify the student body treasurer and the president of the Graduate and Professional Student Federation when any adjustments are made.

“We will try and make sure this is done in the most transparent way possible,” Horowitz said.

Horowitz also said having students who are elected, rather than appointed by other students, will ensure accountability.

The bill was recommended by a vote of 10-1 and will go to the rules and judiciary committee for approval.

Also on Tuesday, a bill to update the UNC Association of Student Governments delegation was passed unanimously by the rules and judiciary committee. The bill, co-sponsored by student body president Mary Cooper, allows committee chairmen in the delegation to determine their own replacements for meetings they cannot attend.

Zach De La Rosa, speaker of Student Congress and the bill’s sponsor, said the bill serves to clarify the process for choosing alternates.

“The purpose for this bill is to clarify and make sure each branch has its own representation,” he said. “The other way doesn’t make sense.”

Tim Longest, former clerk of Student Congress, echoed De La Rosa’s support.

“It streamlines the process of assigning alternative delegates,” he said.

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