SA gets large fee increase

By Matt Gronlund

The largest increase in the recently passed student fee package for next year is a 12.7 percent increase for the Student Association’s activity fee.

The SA will receive a $6.72 increase, bringing the total activity fee to $59.52.

The SA activity fee funds approximately 80 budgets, including budgets for 60 student organizations, said Tony Lopykinski, SA treasurer.

Some of the larger organizations the SA funds are Campus Activities Board, which gets approximately $300,000 to $400,000, the Office of Campus Recreation, which receives approximately $130,000 and Student Legal Services, which garners $123,843.

“To maintain current programs without giving a penny increase, a 5 percent increase in fees would be necessary due to the predicted enrollment decrease,” Lopykinski said.

Another 6.5 percent increase was added for allowable expenditure increases. This included the 5 percent budget increase which all SA-funded organizations were allowed to request.

The remaining 1.5 percent of the 12.7 percent increase, approximately $10,000, is going to fund Unity in Diversity, the Latino Cultural Awareness Committee and other organizations who previously have not requested SA funds.

With the SA’s intense efforts to make sure athletics did not get a fee increase and their attempt to zero-fund The Northern Star, some might wonder why the SA needs such a large increase.

“It’s the only budget directly demanded by the students,” Lopykinski said. “They (student organizations) come to us, it’s the students demanding the money.”

Lopykinski added that the activity fee prior to 1987 had not been increased for 12 years and the fee was finally being brought up to the level it should be at.

“In comparison to other state universities we still have one of the lowest activity fees,” he said.

He also said the SA has streamlined and made cuts in an attempt to lower their expenditures.

“We do look at cutting things down if someone has a padded budget,” Lopykinski said. “We have a responsibility to keep costs down.”

However, the SA Finance Committee didn’t need to cut many budgets this year because organizations were warned to keep costs at a minimum, he said.

Additionally, Lopykinski said the advertising and recreation adviser positions have been combined into one position, the assistant director of financial affairs. He said this should prove to be more cost effective.

He also cited the SA’s work with WKDI to get a microwave link for the station, which will save the SA $7,600 a year. The money had been allocated to WKDI to pay telephone bills. The microwave link will replace WKDI’s older system of broadcasting over telephone lines.