Efforts to let University of Utah students vote on whether their school fees are mandatory or voluntary appear to have been stopped.
University President Arthur K. Smith has upheld the unanimous recommendation from the Committee on Student Affairs that the fee situation be left as it is."I see no reason to quarrel with that recommendation," Smith told the U.'s Board of Trustees on Friday.
A group of students had petitioned to allow the student body to vote in a referendum on whether fees should be mandated or not by amending the constitution of the Associated Students of the University of Utah.
The ASUU gets $10 per quarter from student fees. Other fees, which vary depending on the number of hours a student takes, go for such things as recreation, computers, health and other services.
Student David Pater expressed disappointment that a referendum wouldn't be held.
"We believe student government belongs to students," Pater said. "We believe we have the right to control it, including funding."
Pater said it is inappropriate that students are forced to pay ASUU fees, which may go to religious, political or lobbying efforts they don't personally support.
However, a memo from Karen McCreary, associate general counsel for the university, said student fees must be approved by the president, the trustees and the Utah State Board of Regents.
She recommended that if the proposal were approved by Smith and the trustees, that it still go to the regents before being submitted to a general referendum.
However, Smith said he supports leaving the fees as they are and the trustees, hearing this as an information item on their meeting agenda, took no action.
Earlier, ASUU President Thomas Stringham said the committee made the right decision.
"Legality is really the bottom line," Stringham said. "Students don't have the power to decide which fees they're going to pay. There are certain costs associated with attending a university and they don't have the power to determine those costs. Those are determined by the regents."