Referendum of activities fee proposal to begin today

Undergraduates can begin casting their votes today on YaleStation online portal on a Yale College Council proposal for a $50 optional student activities fee. The results of the referendum will influence the administration as it contemplates backing the measure and instituting the fee in next year’s budget and tuition, Yale College Dean Peter Salovey said.

If implemented, the fee is expected to net as much as $215,000 for on-campus student activities, YCC Treasurer Andrew Schram ’06 said. Under the YCC’s tentative proposal, about 50 percent, or $107,500, would be allocated to the YCC for events like Spring Fling; about 20 percent, or $43,000, would go to club sports teams; about 15 percent, or $32,250, would go to the Undergraduate Organizations Funding Committee to distribute to student clubs; and about 15 percent, or $32,250, would fund a new intercollegiate initiative whereby students from different colleges could organize campus events and parties.

The fee would automatically be added to students’ tuition and billed to their bursar accounts and would be covered by financial aid, but students would be able to opt out of the fee at the beginning of each year, YCC President Andrew Cedar ’06 said.

Beginning today, students can read the YCC’s proposal on the fee through the YaleStation Web site prior to voting. But Cedar cautioned that the YCC’s plans are merely suggestions for the administration and the final plan for a fee, should the administration chose to implement one, may or may not incorporate features of the YCC’s proposal.

“This is what we’d like to see happen,” Cedar said. “What you’re voting on is the idea.”

In previous years, the YCC has discussed the idea of a student activities fee but has been unable to institute one. This is the first time the measure has had any kind of support from the administration, Cedar said.

Indeed, both Salovey and Dean of Student Affairs Betty Trachtenberg have said they think the fee is fundamentally a good idea, but both said they want to see the results of the student referendum before officially supporting the YCC’s proposal.

“I can understand the YCC’s wish to have more events for the student body, and that’s great,” Trachtenberg said.

Still, even if students vote overwhelmingly vote for the referendum, the fee will not necessarily be enacted, Schram said.

“There’s no magic number, just a general sense of how students will react to it,” Schram said.

After voting concludes Thursday evening, the YCC’s next step will be to present the results to University President Richard Levin, Salovey, and Yale Provost Andrew Hamilton, Cedar said.

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