Boris Tsang/Sun Photography Editor

The measure to increase undergraduates' student activity fee passed unanimously and with little debate.

December 11, 2019

S.A. Hikes Activity Fee Nearly 40% in Last Meeting of Semester

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On Tuesday, the Student Assembly, in its last meeting for the semester, voted on recommending an increase to the student activity fee from $234 to $321 for the 2020-2022 byline funding year.

The assembly, which met in Lewis Auditorium in Goldwin Smith Hall, also approved three organization funding requests as part of the fee increase and discussed the creation of a set of codified rules for internal elections.

The proposed student activity fee hike — an increase of $97 — was passed unanimously with almost no debate. This rise is the largest in Cornell history since a $43 hike in November 2003.

There was only one question directed at Moriah Adeghe ’21, S.A. vice president of finance, by Nick Matolka ’21, undesignated at-large representative.

“Are you comfortable with how much this went up?” Matolka asked.

“It does sound like a lot,” responded Adeghe, “but there’s nothing I’m upset about.”

Adeghe pointed to an increase in the activities fee allocation given to the Student Activities Funding Commission –– a $61 increase –– as one of the potentially beneficial measures contained in the proposed budget.

“[SAFC] is an organization that funds over 550 [organizations],” Adeghe said in an interview with the Sun. “I acknowledge that it’s a sizable increase, but in the S.A.’s mind, the costs don’t outweigh the benefits.”

Currently, the SAFC finds itself facing a $1 million gap in funding requests compared to the money from the activities fee, leading the commission to enforce stringent guidelines in order to maintain a balanced budget, according to the Student Assembly Appropriations Committee.

The Appropriations Committee also provided recommendations for proposed byline funding for certain organizations, allocating byline funding to both the Financial Aid Review Committee and the S.A. itself.

Altogether, these three organizations make up approximately 76% of the proposed increase — almost $70.

Adeghe talked about a potential concern with the proposed fee increase.

“This increase won’t affect anybody that gets full financial aid,” assured Adeghe, adding that the activity fee was factored into Cornell’s aid program.

Also brought up in the meeting was a resolution establishing a protocol for S.A. internal elections, referring to vacant positions within the S.A. executive board. This resolution, sponsored by Matolka, was tabled for next spring.