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I-Fee Could Be Significantly Lowered Spring Term

UO students can look forward to a much lower Incidental Fee spring term, and every spring term to follow, if several proposed changes to the Clark Document are approved.

Thanks to a new modeling system, the University can now more accurately project spring term enrollment numbers. ASUO Executive Sam Dotters-Katz is proposing that, with the newly available information, the I-fee be lowered as much as possible every spring term to avoid excess money rolling into the over-realized fund. Current rough estimates place the adjusted spring term I-fee at $84.

The proposed changes will have to pass the desk of President Frohnmayer, who must authorize any change to the Clark Document.

“I’ve talked to President Frohnmayer and other administrators,” said Dotters-Katz, “and they are all very supportive of it.”

Furthermore, another change to the Clark Document is being pushed that will not allow over-realized monies to be spent during fall and winter term. This would, in essence, take a huge chunk out of the over-realized fund that accrues each year, as well as end the spending frenzy that accompanies it.

The ASUO Senate doled out $800,000 in over-realized funds at the end of last school year. There is $775,000 in this year’s O-R fund already. According to Dotters-Katz, future O-R funds would be as low as 25k-75k a year with the proposed changes.

It would also be the first time that the I-Fee has been significantly lowered, well, pretty much ever.

“I wrestled with what to do about this issue all summer,” said Dotters-Katz. “For me, the crux of the matter was to define the over-realized Fund for what it is: the unfair over-taxation of the student body.”

Couldn’t say it better myself. In terms of fiscal responsiblility, this would be a giant leap forward in the way the ASUO collects student money.

  1. Chris says:

    With an optional donation, I think we’re back to Vincent’s point, and I wasn’t advocating anything too strongly up there. I just wonder how effective the current set up is. <—That’s rhetorical btw.

    I can tell you that when the Rec Center raised it’s fee to accommodate inflation and a long-term outlook at getting out of debt, some ASUO members went apeshit over what I would deem a modest increase ($7). The increase ended up being lower, which was a good outcome for students. I know that all students don’t use the Rec Center, but it is open to all students despite its steadily increasing inability to cope with increases in student enrollments and no increase in square footage.

    Student groups are, I suppose, also open to all students…but many of them are specific to one group of students or another. I’m not going to get into qualitative differences or judgment statements as to who provides the better service to the student body, but I would argue that the Rec Center has a greater ability to impact a large number of students than, let’s say, the Veterans Group (VFSA) on campus does. I’m just speaking in terms of numbers here, and numbers play a big role in this fee business.

    My point, I guess, is that people will go nuts over fee increases that are aiming to provide a service to a broad swath of the student body, but the same people won’t say much when it comes to…oh I don’t know…what’s a group that gets picked on a lot? Oh, when it comes to sending the sustainable living group across the country to attend a conference on how to best separate plastics from food waste. <—hypothetical

    Students being allowed to decide en masse probably won’t work…but at the same time, if each year’s crop of students had more input into the decision, you could impact what you want funded while you are here studying. In some cases, students vote now on something that will be costing students money 10 years from now…Oregon State (among many others) did this to fund their new Rec Center. That’s not abnormal, but it gets back to my pipe dream idea of students giving their input in a meaningful way. hehe

  2. Betz says:

    Still, I like the idea of students voting for where the money goes each year.

    I wasn’t suggesting that students individually contribute to which student groups they support, because I believe Vincent is right – every student group would immediately fold.

    My suggestion was that instead of contributing to individual groups, students could elect whether or not they would contribute an optional donation (preferably, of their amount) which would be allocated to a fund pool. ASUO can still determine allocations to student groups, but they would be drawing from this reserved fund pool.

  3. Niedermeyer says:

    Crack a beer Commentariat! This is what we’ve been working towards for a long, long time now. Do any of our village elders want to confirm that this is the most the I-Fee has ever been reduced?

    I don’t even pay the damn fee anymore, but this still has me jazzed to no end.

  4. Timothy says:

    Still, I like the idea of students voting for where the money goes each year.

    Ballot measures are not compatible with the viewpoint-neutral funding models established in Southworth and its precursors.

  5. Vincent says:

    Well, if there was an Aryan Student Union, I wouldn’t give to them either.

  6. CJ Ciaramella says:


  7. Vincent says:

    So if I don’t feel like giving my money to MeCHA, I don’t have to?

  8. ASUO says:

    The students do decide which groups get money. They’re all elected or appointed. And it’s not like the vacancies are flooded with applicants. there’s a seat on the senate that SDK can’t fill because NOBODY wants it. So I think the Orwduck idea really doesn’t deserve even the little bit of attention (sometimes-reasonable) Chris paid it.

  9. Vincent says:

    Having students decide what programs they wanted to fund would cause each and every student group to immediately fold.

  10. Chris says:

    And people thought having vote-charmers out for the Presidential election was bad….what would it look like when every student group on campus crams the EMU amphitheater corner with their “have you voted” people?

    Still, I like the idea of students voting for where the money goes each year. Still, the problem is that you’d just have a larger ‘ASUO’ like group dictating where it goes because only 2000 people would vote…10% is better than .05% though I guess.

  11. orwellduk says:

    How about abolishing A.S.U.O. entirely and the voting on campus can be a line by line ballot with all the groups wanting duck bucks listed. This way each group might have to prove some actual value to the students. Also the “sustainability” related groups would have to define their cult-like term and prove some actual results. Or we can go on spending and decorating the EMU with funny shaped gadgets and preaching Al Gore’s chicken little gospel. The room A.S.U.O. meets in now in the EMU could provide space for a much needed new Commentator office.

  12. Betz says:

    Its so great to hear that Dotters-Katz is trying to break the annual routine of the “ASUO Overrealized fund Giveaway” contest. It marks a real step forward as far as ASUO politics goes.


  13. Greenspan says:

    Are you suuuuuure you wouldn’t rather have a hair show???

  14. Nate Gulley says:


  15. Michelle Haley says:

    Okay, actually I was wrong, it’s a $111 savings total (I had the wrong I-Fee amount in my original calculation), but it’s still a $37 savings per term.

  16. Michelle Haley says:

    It’s not $10 per term, it’s a projected $118 savings, so over three terms it’s about $40. Plus, there would still be an over-realized fund, it would just be much smaller, but still enough to fund important projects, maybe not twenty-five of them per year, but enough to help foster growth and change on campus.

  17. Chris says:

    This is good. I’m curious though about how students feel about monies being directed not to individual groups, per se, but to campus institutions that students can and do benefit from. The main thing I’m thinking of is the Rec Center, which I know all students don’t go to. I imagine there are other areas that could be improved though too, like the 24 hour library thing which seems to be going over very well if late-night crowds at the library are any indication. I don’t think it should be opened up to things like this on a whim either. I just wonder whether students really want their $10 per term back or if they would rather funnel that into other things that they want on campus…

    And yes, I know how much beer $10 can buy. Although, I’d probably still go for a 6-pack of something like Jubel Ale for $7 and the a couple 22’s so that I could get the 7% ABV into the bloodstream.

  18. Vincent says:


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