ASBC tries to increase endowment fund

Students in the faculty of arts could have more money available to help pay for their university experience if the Arts Student Body Council (ASBC) decides to hold a referendum this semester.

“The purpose of the referendum would be to have a portion of Arts students tuition contribute to the faculty of arts endowment fund,” said Riley McGuire, ASBC senator.

All faculties on campus have an endowment fund and almost all faculties have student contributions to their respective funds.

Students in the faculty of science pay five dollars per credit hour into their endowment fund and students in the Asper School of Business pay $18.98 per credit hour.

Every year, interest is earned off of the balance in the Arts endowmnet fund and given out to students, student groups and faculty who request funding, said McGuire.

McGuire said he thinks it is important for Arts students to contribute to the endowment fund because “there are lots of uses for that money and if the money’s not there people can’t use it.”

McGuire said he thinks the faculty of arts has been at a disadvantage for the past few years without student contributions because there is not enough money and they have more proposals that are rejected than other faculties.

ASBC is also interested in letting people know that the money exists McGuire noted.

McGuire said ASBC President Amanda McMullin brought up the idea of a referendum in November.

ASBC is researching the idea and needs to figure out the wording so ASBC can vote on it, he said.

McGuire said ASBC hopes to vote on holding the referendum by the end of the month and if it passes to hold the referendum in mid-February.

According to McGuire, the ASBC is considering putting contributions solely into the endowment fund or putting half of the contributions into a student initiative fund. He said they are also considering whether to have a flat rate per student or a per credit hour fee for the contributions.

“We all think if it does go forward it’s going to be a very difficult thing to persuade people of because [ . . . ] no one likes any raise in tuition,” McGuire said.

Greg Smith, chair of the Arts Endowment Fund Committee, said the funds have not grown much since students stopped annual contributions and now there is more demand than there is money.

Smith said in some years the committee has had to reduce the amount of money they give out so everyone gets something.

“Some students who have very legitimate requests for funds have been unable to get the maximum amount available,” Smith said.

Jaysa Nachtigall, president of the Commerce Student’s Association (CSA), said the distribution of business students’ mandatory endowment fees changes each year.

He said they pay for things like student security patrol, the Career Development Centre, use of the computer lab, student group funding from the dean’s office and night caretakers.

Nachtigall said the CSA has never received complaints on their mandatory endowment fees, and also has an Asper Student Leadership Fund that business students can contribute voluntarily to any time during their degree.

According to Nachtigall the funds are meant to accumulate over the years and then have a portion of them released as a gift to the school. The CSA used the Leadership funds this year to buy furniture and make a new study space on the third floor of the Drake centre.