(WBIR- Knoxville) Starting Monday, University of Tennessee students will have to decide whether they want a small part of their tuition to help pay for student programming.
In June, the University of Tennessee's Board of Trustees approved the Policy on Student Programs and Services Fee. The new policy establishes an opt-in procedure that allows every student the opportunity to the university to allocate a certain amount or percentage of the Student Programs and Services Fee ($19.46 for full-time students) for student-organized programming.
For several weeks, UT student leaders have been encouraging other students to opt-in. In a video posted on the university's Student Government Association's website, Student Body President Kelsey Keny explains the money is used for student programs ranging "from events like Volapalooza to free films from the film committee to anything from CPC (Central Program Council), BCPC (Black Cultural Programming Committee), International House, and any other organization big or small that wants to put on a program on campus".
University of Tennessee - Knoxville: Student Government Association
The opt-in policy comes after the controversy surrounding UT's 'Sex Week', a week-long sexual education program held on campus. It drew much scrutiny in its two years and led state lawmakers to pass House Joint Resolution 661 in February 2014 with a 69 - 17 House vote, which condemned the school's administration for allowing the event.
'Sex Week' Co-Founder Brianna Radar explained, "Basically this is a compromise between the university and the state to avoid more extreme measures that could be put on the university on student fees."
Radar said she believes returning UT students will opt-in for student programming. It's the university's incoming class she's afraid will not opt-in because of a lack of understanding.
She said, "Students who are older definitely know to op-in, but it's just convincing freshmen and educating them on why they should opt-in."
According to a university email sent to students, if a student decides not to opt-in, the portion of the fee will still be taken and reallocated for "another use that benefits students."
If a student chooses not to opt-in, that student will not be eligible for free or discounted student tickets to certain events.