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StuGov passed a bill about funds for Community Service Fee, gives funding

Boston University Student Government unanimously passed a bill to redistribute funds from the Community Service Fee for the 2024-2025 school year Monday night. 

Student Body President Dhruv Kapadia gives a president’s address at a Student Government meeting on Jan. 29. In a meeting on Monday, StuGov unanimously passed a bill to redistribute funds from the Community Service Fee to the Allocations Board and club sports. MOLLY POTTER/DFP PHOTOGRAPHER

The bill proposed to increase the percentage of money given to the Allocations Board and club sports and to decrease the percentage of money for residence halls and academic student governments. 

“It is the only part about our tuition that students have a say. We pay how many ever tens of thousands of dollars annually?” StuGov President Dhruv Kapadia said. “This is the only segment of our tuition that students actually can participate in the budgeting and expenditure.”

The Community Service Fee is an annual $140 fee charged to full-time undergraduate students. According to the Boston University Student Accounting Services website, the fee supports “student organizations, both online and in-person programs, and services.” The money, managed by the Dean of Students Office, amounts to roughly $3 million each school year.

Organizations such as the Allocations Board, club sports, college governments, residence halls, and student government receive a portion of the funds from the Community Service Fee. Groups receive money on a proportional basis based on the group’s size and needs. 

StuGov proposed to increase the proportions for the Allocations Board, campus wide events, student government and club sports between 0.5% and 1.5%. With this, the new distribution model would decrease money that residence halls and academic students governments receive and eliminate the funds the off-campus council receives. 

“Club sports and the allocation board, which had much more thorough records of their spending and were on track to spend all their money, could use the money more,” Senator Abraham Budson-Mcquilken said. “A lot of the college student governments do a lot of great work, but because a lot of them did have excess funds, it was decided that spending that money elsewhere might be a more effective use.”

The increased funding for StuGov and campus wide special events will aid in sustaining an annual spring concert for undergraduate students and helping to fund club sports to reduce the extensive amount of out-of-pocket expenses for players.

Currently, the Allocations Board, which allocates the money they receive from the CSF to undergraduate events both on and off campus, and class initiative events receive the most money. All other organizations and events that receive funding from the Community Service Fee receive less than 10% of the money. 

Although the reductions and additions to budgets allocated by the Community Service Fee to each organization affected are between 0.5% and 1.5%, up to tens of thousands of dollars for groups benefiting from the fund could be gained or lost. 

Hannah Dworkin, chair of the student senate, said the need for change and transparency about the fee is important for the future. 

“It hadn’t been changed in over 10 years and hadn’t had student input in a lot longer than that,” Dworkin said.“This system is now an annual system that will, every single year, hold these organizations accountable and make sure that they’re spending properly.” 

Additionally, StuGov passed Senate Resolution 28, which will modify the legislative by-laws to enforce clearer guidelines for future senators. The resolution also includes changing proposal submission deadlines from four days to 48 hours for the Senate and from 48 hours to 36 hours for the Judicial Commission.

“Any entity or organization on campus with a valid BU engage number can request funds,” Dworkin said. “The senator has discretion over what is put on the agenda including funding requests, and they’re brought to you on a first come first serve basis.”.

The bill also proposes making senate finances available to the public via the Student Government website and outlining the process to request funds from StuGov. 

The Judicial Advisory Committee, a group concerned with the Student Government’s physical and digital archives, gave their semi-annual report that highlighted a comparison of grading criteria and student performance among different BU colleges. Sara Merhi, a sophomore in the College of General Studies, reported that the College of Communication had the largest grade distribution compared to other BU colleges. 

“We’re still trying to get administration to get back to us in terms of the student performance,” Merhi said. “I’m expecting to find greater grade disparity in schools with grade cutoffs such as Questrom and College of Engineering who don’t post their grades throughout the semester but at the end shuffle them around.”

The report also addressed the effect of the Supreme Court’s affirmative action ruling, which removed BU Admissions’ ability to make admissions decisions based on race and solutions for more all-gender bathrooms on campus.

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