In the face of yearly surpluses, Student Congress members are beginning to question the fee that the Student Safety and Security Committee uses to allocate to various student safety groups, as well as the committee’s existence.
Speaker of Student Congress Connor Brady said although no bills have been filed, members from two different committees have approached him about absorbing the Student Safety and Security Committee (SSSC) into an existing Student Congress committee.
The Fee’s effect
annual safety and security fee
projected revenue from fee
surplus from fee money last year
goes to Survivor’s Assistance Fund
“I don’t think that it’s a problem to have money left over each year, but the amount of money being left over is a problem,” he said.
UNC students are required to pay a $2.27 annual Safety and Security Fee, with 25 percent going to the Survivor’s Assistance Fund, which helps pay medical expenses incurred by sexual assault victims.
The other 75 percent is then allocated by SSSC to various student safety groups around campus, such as One Act and SafeWalk, to help fund them.
In addition to the surplus funds from the previous year, the committee and Survivor’s Assistance Fund works with roughly $60,000 from student fees each year, said Tyler Jacon, the chairman of the Student Safety and Security Committee.
The large surplus occurs because many student safety groups do not know about the fund, and the committee receives very few funding requests, he said. He added that the committee is required to leave at least 10 percent of the funds for the next year.
“This isn’t the most well known committee, honestly,” Jacon said.
“We run a large surplus each year. It’s our goal to spend as much of it as possible.”
This year, the projected fee revenue for both the committee and the Survivor’s Assistance Fund is $58,136. In addition, the committee began this year with an estimated $36,000 surplus from last year, said Student Body Treasurer Matt Farley.
The large surplus has caused some members of Student Congress to call for the committee to be absorbed into Student Congress’s Oversight and Advocacy committee, Farley said.
“The only real positive I can see (from being absorbed) is that it will be more accessible — that is, more widely known,” said Farley.
“It wouldn’t affect the mission of Safety and Security,” he said. “I just don’t think it’s necessary. I don’t think that there are any problems with how it’s currently structured.”
Student Body President Christy Lambden said he is looking into how the money can be spent more effectively, and said he has not heard that SSSC could be absorbed into an existing committee.
“I don’t see any evidence that absorbing the committee would lead to the money being used more effectively and the reduction of the surplus,” he said.
Jacon said there are benefits to having a smaller group allocate the fee, such as the absence of parliamentary procedure. He added that while the committee has cut back on requests, SSSC has never denied a group funding.
He added that his goal this year is to reach out to more groups in order to decrease the surplus. He added that he is hoping to set in motion two projects with Campus Health Services this year, as well as extend the services of One Act.
Another student safety group that receives funding from SSSC is SafeWalk, a safety initiative that enlists three to four teams each night to walk students who feel unsafe to their destination.
David Hill, director of SafeWalk, said that the program received $20, 200 from SSSC last year.
“(SSSC) is an essential part of the expansion of our program,” said Hill. “We couldn’t operate without the generous funds from groups like SSSC.”
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