The Georgetown University Student Association Senate passed four acts on Sunday, including one calling for the interest accrued in the student activity fee endowment to be retained in that account.

Interest in the student activity fee endowment is currently rolled over into the university’s general endowment, but the act, sponsored by Senator Colton Malkerson (COL ’13), would require the interest to remain in the activity fee endowment.

Senator Nick Troiano (COL ’11) said it is unclear whether the university is bound by the Senate’s act. He said Director of Student Programs Erika Cohen-Derr suggested the Senate pass the bill to provide guidance to the university in the future.

Although the university will continue to manage the interest, Malkerson said, passing the act was an important step toward greater student control of the activities fee endowment.

“Though the administration still handles it, this is a necessary first step,” he said.

The act encourages the Senate to look into recovering past interest gained from the endowment that was moved into the greater endowment.

Since 2001, when students approved the mandatory student activities fee and endowment in a referendum, students have paid a $50 student activity fee each semester. Half the fee is available to fund activities immediately while the other half is set aside for future use in an endowment fund.

GUSA set the target sum for the activity fee endowment at $10 million; the fund currently stands at $1.8 million. At this point, the money needed for student activities would come from the interest, and students would no longer be obligated to pay the fee.

The GUSA Finance and Appropriations Committee, the GUSA president, five student funding boards and the Georgetown Program Board oversee the allocation of the money designated for current use.

“It is important that we view the university as just an organization that provides a service,” said Troiano, the chair of the Finance and Appropriations Committee.

The Senate also passed a bill that allocates $400 for advertising, food and drink for seven upcoming town-hall events.

Senator Josh Mogil (SFS ’11) said that the food was a good way to increase student attendance, which has been low at town hall meetings in the past.

“It’s better to hear their opinions than not hear them,” he said.

In addition, the Senate passed an act that establishes procedural rules for GUSA meetings.

The fourth act reconciles the issue of filling Senate vacancies due to resignation or lack of candidates during the election period.

The GUSA president will now issue writs of election when a Senate seat becomes vacant and hold a special election within 30 days of the vacancy, excluding university holidays and exam periods.

Senator Kelly Rohrbach (COL ’12) recently resigned, contributing to a total of four empty Senate seats, with Copley Hall, Harbin Hall floors six to nine, Village A E to H blocks and university townhouses currently unrepresented.

Rats on campus also came up at the meeting, though Mogil said Monday that GUSA is not the right organization to address the problem. “[Students] want us working on bigger problems like lack of flu shots, bad Leo’s food and lack of Wi-Fi,” he said. “We can talk with administrators about solving the rat problem, but we are not the appropriate body to go rat-hunting on the weekends.”

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