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SA treasurer says she’s pursuing pupil exercise charges refunds

The Pupil Affiliation has “roughly” $900,000 of pupil charges left from this semester after SA cancelled all occasions, actions and conferences till Might 16, in response to SA Treasurer Kendra Harris. 

Harris mentioned she’s pursuing prorated refunds for college students’ exercise charges, which price every pupil $109 each semester, after UB’s transfer to “distance studying” amid the COVID-19 outbreak. Harris says she wants approval from UB directors, SA skilled workers and the SA board of administrators earlier than any resolution could be finalized. Harris’ proposal follows Pupil Life’s resolution to refund college students for unused housing and meal contracts. 

Harris will search steerage from Pupil Life as a way to decide “the speed” for college students’ potential refunds and that the whole thing of the $900,000 won’t be refunded to college students as a result of SA nonetheless has “important prices,” together with insurance coverage and stipends. 

UB didn’t reply to questions concerning the pupil exercise charge resolution course of in time for publication.

Some college students need their pupil exercise charges refunded, however others assume the cash needs to be used to enhance SA.  

Devonte Tolliver, a sophomore public well being main, thinks SA mustn’t refund college students their pupil exercise charges. As an alternative, he mentioned he thinks SA ought to use the cash to “make investments” in SA and meet the coed physique’s “desires.”

“The cash needs to be stored for the following educational 12 months to speculate into the present annual occasions and to create further concepts primarily based on the desires of the coed physique,” Tolliver mentioned. 

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Pupil governments at some colleges already dedicated to refunding college students their pupil exercise charges. College students at SUNY Stony Brook will obtain prorated refunds or credit for his or her pupil exercise charges, in response to The Statesman, Stony Brook’s pupil newspaper.

Julia Whipple, a junior psychology main, mentioned she thinks SA “ought to refund every pupil their $100, given the circumstances.”

“Faculty isn’t low-cost and if college students can not attend any of the additional occasions that their charges pay for, not less than they need to be refunded these smaller transactions,” Whipple mentioned. “SA will proceed to have a move of funds every semester, so it appears honest for it to be returned this semester.”

Mike Powers, a senior communication main, mentioned that pupil exercise charges are like a contract and that if SA doesn’t use the cash to fulfill its “contractual obligations,” it ought to present refunds. 

“If funds from our tuition weren’t allotted for his or her supposed goal, then by all means these funds needs to be disseminated again to the scholars,” Powers mentioned.

Ryan Coppola, a sophomore enterprise administration main and a common physique member of the undergraduate consulting membership and monetary administration affiliation, mentioned he hopes SA will refund college students as a result of different UB organizations — like Pupil Life — are offering prorated credit score and “each greenback makes a distinction in these powerful occasions.”

“I believe the SA ought to calculate one of the best ways to return the cash to the scholars. Campus Dwelling and Campus Eating are already seeking to give partial refunds for the 12 months, so it is sensible for SA to present a partial refund as nicely.”

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Adam James contributed reporting to this story. 

Julian Roberts-Grmela is a senior information editor and could be reached at julian.grmela@ubspectrum.com and on Twitter @GrmelaJulian. 

Oliver Smith

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