Sherri Crahen’s new SAFAC process receives heavy backlash at student government meeting

“At the end of the day, they wanted to cut out student opinion,” Grace Kilfoyle, president of Student Government says.


Laken Kincaid

Administration announcement receives heavy criticism at Student Government meeting after lack of student involvement

Laken Kincaid, Managing Editor

In a Nov. 15 JCU student government meeting, Director of Business Affairs Jaheim Peake ‘24 announced a change to the procedures of the Student Activity Fee Allocation Committee (SAFAC) enacted by the administration without discussion in the Student Government Senate. This change, which was brought to light by Dean of Students Sherri Crahen, effectively removes yearly student input into the allocation of the student activity fee. 

During the executive board reports, it was announced that the Student Activity Fee Allocation Committee (SAFAC) “no longer allocates to the Fitness Room, DSA Personnel, Diversity Initiatives, the Shuttle Program, Immersion Experiences, Residence Life Programming, Resident Ministry Program, Leadership Development, Homecoming, Student Wellness, Spiritual Development, Commuter Outreach Initiatives, Greek Life, JCUEMS, the Health Center, the Violence Prevention and Action Center, Athletic-Spirit Activities or the Counseling Center.” Under this procedure, SAFAC still allocates funds to the U-Club, the Student Organization Budgeting Board, Student Government and Club Sports.

Under this policy, all of the budgets that are funded by the $1.295 million student activity fee collection for all of the aforementioned organizations will have the same funding every year without annual revision from students as per the typical committee process, remaining entirely at the discretion of the budget office. This amount comes from a fee students must pay each semester for enrollment.

According to the official student government agenda, Peake was not made aware of the changes to the student activity fee policies until after the policy change had been approved by administration. Governing documents from student government state that any changes to SAFAC policy must pass through the senate before they take effect, showing a potential violation of guidelines set and agreed upon between JCUSG and administration.

“I think regardless of what happens, it’s clear that they wanted to move this out of Student Government’s control and into staff control,” Student Government President Grace Kilfoyle ‘23 told The Carroll News. “At the end of the day, they wanted to cut out student opinion.”

In the meeting, Crahen said that her reasoning behind this move was because the “Budget Office recommended [this proposal to her because they] kept approving [the budget] year after year after year, so quite honestly it’s about efficiency.” This sudden and unexpected shift worried many in the chamber. Many students in attendance felt that  the budget should adapt along with the changing campus throughout the years and not be cemented for ease of senior leadership.

When asked about student involvement in the change, Crahen said no students were involved with the process except for an alleged meeting with Peake last spring. This one-sided approach where the administration acted alone was echoed through the sentiment that Peake was only informed of the change through third parties. Multiple concerns were raised by the senators including the lack of transparency from the administration, the lack of involvement from students and that the change was not properly communicated to the appropriate figures.

“We pay $40,000 a year to go here,” Peake told The Carroll News. “The student activity fee waiver should be under the control of students. If you have a problem with it, take it out of the different operational budgets you have around campus. That’s what the student activity fee is for.”

After over twenty minutes of probing and resistance to the policy change by members of the student government, Crahen agreed to revisit the policy and “sit down” with Peake and other members of SAFAC but no dates have been reported.

The Carroll News reached out to Crahen and is awaiting a response.