Wednesday, February 15th, the Student Government Association at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, held a Student Fee Forum. The forum was an opportunity for UMBC students to understand the proposed mandatory fee increases associated with the upcoming academic year.
Musa Jafri, the Director of Civic Engagement from UMBC’s SGA, attended the forum and gained insight for our students. He believes much of the fee changes are associated with cost of living adjustments and are of merit due to inflation.
Demetrius McGuffin, an SGA Senator and a member on the Student Fee Advisory Committee, was also in attendance and explained that the increase in pay rates, record levels of inflation and mounting expenses have resulted in an increase to every undergraduate student fee at UMBC. Although not ideal, Demetrius believes that it may be necessary to maintain the quality of education and the overall functioning of the institution.
As the discussion continued, Demetrius made it clear that, “it is important to remember that once fees are raised, they tend to remain at the increased level and rarely decrease,” and that this means every future student will be impacted. Demetrius ended by stressing the importance of staying informed, “because education is a fundamental right, and financial barriers should not prevent anyone from accessing it.”
In other works, Joshua Le, the Assistant Speaker of the SGA Senate, is working towards increasing the student engagement with the student body of SGA.
This comes in response to student concerns that SGA is too formal and hard to reach. Collectively, Joshua, Meghan Thomas from the Student Organization Support Team, and the Communications department, have created the community spotlight form, which is open for current and new student organizations.
Student organizations are able fill out the community spotlight form and SGA will highlight a different student organization regularly. Joshua describes it as, “…kinda like a ‘new student org of the week: XYZ organization,’” and that SGA is, “hoping to post our first post by the end of the month.”
Joshua is also in the process of trying to pass a legislation to allocate funds to Retriever Essentials (RE).
RE does a lot of great for UMBC by tackling the big issue of food insecurity that has struck campus this semester especially. As many students take advantage of these resources, they require increased support.
Joshua says, “My intention is to essentially donate money to RE so they can continue to efficiently support more students for more time.” This continued effort he believes is, “a short term solution for a long term problem, but a long term solution is in the drafts.”
For more information concerning the above updates reach out to Musa Jafri, Director of Civic Engagement (email@example.com), Demetrius McGuffin, Senator (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Joshua Le, Assistant Speaker of the Senate (email@example.com).
For more information concerning the collaborative content of the SGA column, reach out to Maheera Chaudhry, Chief of Staff, (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Evelyn Yuen, Associate Director of Communications, (email@example.com).
This article has been edited by Isabel Taylor, Editor-In-Chief of The Retriever.