The Student Affairs office is in the midst of changing the process and guidelines for the Student Services Fee Advisory Committee.
Every student at Tyler Junior College pays $2 per credit hour each semester to fund student activities. Various organizations make proposals on how they feel the money should be distributed each semester to The Student Services Fee Advisory Committee (SSFAC), who then makes recommendations to the vice president of Student Affairs.
The current committee’s voting members are made up of nine students.
After many clubs and organizations were disappointed with allocations made this semester by SSFAC, TJC President Michael Metke and Richard Minter, interim vice president of Student Affairs, have begun making changes to the committee’s processes and procedures.
The changes will go into effect in fall 2010, not the spring like previously planned.
“We could have tried to implement them in the spring… but rather than rushing to try to make the changes, plus people are pretty well in the groove for the year, we postponed it until the fall,” Minter said.
The most significant adjustment approved by the president will be replacing two student members with two faculty members on the committee.
“They could stay on there for several years to give continuity to the process as we go through it, and I think it will,” Minter said. “It won’t give the faculty the opportunity to veto anything or to push for their special projects, because the guidelines asses that if there is a project of special interest to them, they will have to excuse themselves from the process.”
Minter and Metke said their goal was to be more aligned with the way others colleges and universities organize similar committees. The SSFAC at Texas State University at San Marcos is made up of four faculty members and six students.
“The state law requires that a ‘majority’ of the members of the SSFAC be students. Our committee conforms to that law,” said Dr. Richard Cheathman, member of TSU at San Marcos SSFAC and Dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication.
Having administration on the committee could be beneficial in maintaining neutrality. Cheathman said their presence in the committee at TSU prevents a “knee-jerk” reaction to eliminate funding simply because an account is “out of favor” with a few student representatives.
There have also been changes made to the position that the freshman senate president holds on the committee.
“We designated the student membership a little bit differently,” Minter said. “I found out there was a little bit of a problem including the freshman president on the committee, because the freshman president may not be elected before the committee meets in the fall. We changed that up a little bit, and I think that will be better.”
Minter said the ultimate objective is to be fair, and he hopes to make the committee more transparent through the changes.
“I don’t think the process was unfair, but I wasn’t involved in it so it’s hard for me to make a judgment there,” Minter said. “I’m looking at ways to make it more visible, where everyone understands the way the decisions are being made and the guidelines for making awards.”
Minter said they are still looking at possible changes and improvements and are open to adjustments in the following years.
“If we are doing something wrong, it’s our obligation to correct that. If it doesn’t succeed for any reason, it can be revised in the given year,” he said. “It’s not something that is in concrete that we have to live with from now on, and as we go through it, there made be a need for change in the future, but I think with the review that we’ve given this year, it’s going to be better.”
Minter said they hope the new plan will be more in line with what other schools across the state are doing, and they hope the changes will result in a positive outcome.