By Hugo Fernandez
I host a weekly show called “It’s On” at WLGR LaGuardia CC Radio. Last week the show featured a discussion about CUNY student activity fee policies with guests Smitha Varghese and Blair Horner of the New York Public Research Interest Group (NYPIRG). Ms. Varghese, a student at Queens College, is the Chairperson of the NYPIRG Student Board of Directors. Mr. Horner is the Executive Director of NYPIRG.
The UFS Student Affairs Committee was asked by Ms. Varghese and Mr. Horner to hear NYPIRG’s concerns over the future of Article XVI of the CUNY Bylaws, covering the use of Student Activity Fees (October 2, 2018). The radio interview aims to give background and answer questions concerning a resolution anticipated from the UFS Committee on Student Affairs supporting students to have a direct role in the expenditure of Student Activity Fees. The interview reinforces the idea that NYPIRG, which is funded by the consent of student governance at each college, where it has a chapter, is a fully student run organization, and while it employs professionals, such as Blair Horner as Executive Director, students make all decisions regarding the direction of the organization and its activities. It also touches on the fact that NYPIRG is a non-partisan institution and focuses on issues that are of concern to students, working with members on all sides of the political spectrum. In the words of Chairperson Varghese, “the faculty should support students rights to spend their own money and this policy (resolution) would reinforce that and show that the faculty senate has our back.” The interview is available from WLGR on the SoundCloud audio distribution platform.
Crain B., 2018 May 15, “Student Fees and the Student Voice: Testimony before the Board of Trustees”
Tai E.S. and Fernandez H., 2018 April 30, “Call for Faculty Viewpoints: Weighing in on Student Activity Fees”
Coughlin K., 2018 March 28, “From the Desk of the Parliamentarian: A Legal Analysis of the Proposed Revision of CUNY’s Student Activity Fees”
Fernandez H. and Tai E.S., 2018 February 16, “Taking the Measure of Student Fees”
Hugo Fernandez is an associate professor of art and photography at LaGuardia Community College. He is a member of the UFS Executive Committee and the UFS representative to the CUNY Board of Trustees Committee on Student Affairs.
Image: M. Cobane on Twitter.