Because of COVID-19, the University Program Council (UPC) and the Student Government Association (SGA) have not been able to put on programs that they normally do, and students want to know where their fees are going.
Students spend $7.50 on SGA, $.75 on SGA scholarships and an unspecified amount for UPC, according to the SGA fee transparency website.
“I don’t actually know exactly what they’re doing with it,” Bria Cooper, a child and family studies major said. “Considering I don’t know much about it, it seems like there’s a lot of my money going into it.”
In addition to this, a few students could not name anything that SGA does.
“No, I don’t know what they do,” Lajmi Islam, a junior biology major said.
Other students, such as Jalen Duplessis, a senior, also did not know the Fee Transparency part of the SGA website existed, and when shown the table for the breakdown of SGA expenditures, did not understand what they were looking at, and thought that it could be more clear.
One notable thing on the chart is the row labeled classified salaries, which Margarita Perez, the advisor for SGA, said referred to the salaries of actual employees of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
She also clarified that SGA student-workers are paid by being given money towards their tuition, and the fee that students pay is not included in paying them.
This semester, UPC won’t be able to host Lagniappe Day, and SGA didn’t pay for students to travel to conferences.
However, it appears that both organizations have found uses for at least some of the money that they get from students.
According to Perez, money is still being spent on programs, such as Welcome Week, and money that isn’t spent will go into reserves for the future.
Perez said that SGA may use that money to fund larger programs in the coming semesters when the coronavirus is gone, and they may also increase funds for the SGA scholarship.
“I can’t really speak for what they’ll do, but those are some of the options,” she said. “We don’t lose the money. It goes into our reserve.”
UPC has also found uses for its left-over money, including the expenses of homecoming court and other events.
“The money that was allotted for Lagniappe Day last year has just rolled over to this year,” the Director of Student Engagement and Leadership Heidie Lindsey said. “And it’s a good thing because it may cost us more to produce that event this year because of how we need to make it COVID friendly.”
Extra costs to make events work with COVID-19 include offering events both virtually and in person.
“We’ve been having a lot of conversations right now on how we can preserve that tradition (Lagniappe Day) this spring, while also keeping it you know COVID friendly,” Lindsey said.