Sen. Stacey Campfield (R-Knoxville) filed legislation this week addressing the use of student activity fees at Tennessee’s public institutions of higher education. His bill (SB1608) requires student fees used for student organizations’ paid speakers to be distributed “proportionally based on membership to student organizations requesting such funding.”
Legislative concern over the use of student activity fees arose last year during the “Sex Week” programming that occurred on the UTK campus. After a summer Senate Oversight Committee hearing on this topic (read more on that here), Sen. Campfield made clear his opinion that few resources were being allocated for “conservative” speakers.
The current process to obtain student fee monies for speakers on the UTK campus requires that student organizations apply for such funding. Decisions are not based on the membership numbers of the organization requesting funds, but rather a number of other factors, such as whether the program is available to all students, if the program will encourage broad student participation, and if the program contributes to the intellectual development of students.
It is important to note that this bill could easily be amended to take another form. Much more will be known as the issue begins to make its way through the legislative process—stay tuned for more on this matter.
Tags: SB1608, speakers, student activity fees