It has recently come to light that Lane has been the subject of a federal civil rights lawsuit concerning viewpoint neutrality and mandatory student fees. The Lane Community College Board of Education is poised, on Feb. 3, to vote on a change to board policy that would effectively settle the lawsuit — and significantly alter the process by which the mandatory student fee is allocated to various programs around campus.
As your representatives in student government we have been following the issue closely, and we would like to present to the student body the position we have taken and what we will be asking from the board.
As rumors of the lawsuit spread over the past few months and as the facts have become clearer, there has been much apprehension regarding a change to the current policy. Established fee-funded groups on campus are concerned that there could be drastic changes to their funding, or that student voices would be excluded from the decision making process entirely.
ASLCC has been in conversation with many of these groups and with college administration, and at this point there is a rather broad consensus that the board is correct in moving to change the policy. We have arrived at this position after meeting with other affected groups on campus and meeting independently with our attorney to verify the information we were given.
There is one specific change to the proposed new policy that we will be asking the board to make prior to the vote scheduled for Feb. 3. We will ask the board to include language in the policy that explicitly affirms the role of students in the decision making process as it pertains to the mandatory student activity fee. The board will remain as final arbiter of all decisions regarding mandatory student fees, and we feel that students should lead the process by means of a mandatory fee committee.
This arrangement allows students to keep our voice while also providing an appropriate check and balance, and would bring the Lane policy closer in line with established policies in place at public universities. This much has been tacitly agreed upon in our conversations with college administration, and we would ask the board to validate our role within the language of the policy itself.
The exact composition of the new student fee committee and the procedure by which funding applications will be processed and recommendations issued to the board is yet to be determined. The details of this procedure are largely beyond the scope of the board and will be properly addressed within the framework of the college governance system.
All we are asking for now is that the role of students as principal actors this process is stated clearly in the new policy that the board will adopt.
As always, your student leaders appreciate your feedback. We believe that we have exercised due diligence and have arrived at this position after much consideration and with your interests at the forefront. If you feel strongly about this issue or would just like some more information, please feel free to contact either President Ashley Jackson or myself. We would also appreciate the support of our fellow students, and students can show their solidarity by attending the the board meeting on Feb. 3.