New Jersey's 13th Legislative District

Senator Joe Kyrillos

Senator Joe Kyrillos

Kyrillos Submits Legislation Providing Transparency and Choice in Student Activity Fees

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Financially strained college students shouldn’t be obligated to pay $16,000 per hour for advice on tanning, hair care products and getting drunk

Senator Joe Kyrillos (R- Monmouth/Middlesex) has submitted legislation to provide more information and individual control over the use of student activity fees at all public colleges, universities, and county colleges in New Jersey. The bill was drafted following the controversial use of student activities funds to pay for Nicole ‘Snooki’ Polizzi’s recent two-hour $32,000 appearance at Rutgers.

“Student activities fees pay for a great deal of good at the state’s institutions of higher education such as libraries, technology, health facilities, infrastructure and other worthy uses of what are essentially tuition dollars,” said Kyrillos, “However; there are discretionary uses of those funds that many students and parents find outright objectionable.”

“My legislation will empower those paying the tuition bills with information on exactly how student activities fees are allocated, and also allow students to ‘opt out’ to paying the entertainment portion of this fee.”

“Similar ‘opt out’ opportunities are currently available to students for certain politically-engaged organizations on campus and even the student-run newspaper at Rutgers,” concluded Kyrillos.

If passed, the legislation would require institutions that assess ancillary student fees on tuition bills to detail the allocation of resources from the fund. Currently, these fees are not clearly defined or detailed. Under the proposed law, students may ‘opt out’ of paying the portion of the fee that funds entertainment activities or events, though other portions of the fee funding basic institutional operations such as libraries and technology will remain mandatory.

“The cost of a college education is extraordinarily high,” Kyrillos continued. “Students should not be further burdened with being forced to pay for events in which they will never participate or find improper- and should especially not be forced to pay fees without an explicit knowledge of how they are used.”

“We don’t want any more Snooki episodes at Rutgers or any other NJ college.”

The Public Weighs in on “Snooki”…

“To think that a public institution of “higher” learning would condone, no – ENCOURAGE – the waste of significant funds for such an insulting, denigrating and ridiculous miscreant is unbelievable! Snooki and the other inhabitants of MTV’s “Jersey Shore” netherworld have done more damage to the perception of young Italian Americans than anything previous. We have continually expressed our opposition and outrage over this blatant and pernicious assault on Italian Americans. Rutgers’ actions are a direct insult to Italian Americans – as well as any person of decency.” Andre’ DiMino, President, Italian American ONCE VOICE Coalition

“As we both know there have been several events at Rutgers in this past month, such as Snooki and Rutgersfest, that has infuriated a significant population of the student body. Many are upset seeing how their tuition is being spent on entertainment events that they do not support. I saw that you were proposing a bill that would allow students to opt out of paying the portion of fees that fund entertainment or other events they could find objectionable… As of right now, RUPA has a very select group of students(about 15) that decide all the entertainment events for the year and we feel that as the people paying for the events, that we should have the right to vote on what we want to see happen at Rutgers University.” Bryan J. Pawling, Mullica Hill, NJ, Junior at Rutgers University

“I have lived in New Jersey my entire life but only recently transferred to Rutgers, and when I did I was proud. Rutgers, I thought, was a prestigious New Jersey college and I was proud to be a part of it. My opinion of this university changed drastically following this Snooki fiasco and even more so when I learned where the money came from. I had read from multiple sources your attempt to propose a bill that would make these entertainment fees optional with an opt in and opt out policy. I support this concept 100% ..” Matthew Kole, Manalapan, NJ, Junior at Rutgers University

“I think that the vast majority of taxpayers would agree that college and university students, and their parents, should not be forced to compromise their religious and/or other sincerely held beliefs in exchange for access to higher education…Mandatory Student Activity Fees on college campuses are channeled into controversial activities related to sex, politics/social issues and religion that are detrimental to our country as they undermine our traditional/constitutional values and corrupt the minds of our maturing young adults.” Wasyl Schumylowych, Bogota, NJ – concerned parent

“I am so glad you are proposing legislature about the Rutgers student activity fee. I was so appalled and disturbed by the fact that my hard earned money went to ‘Snooki’s bank account. Many parents and students have to take out loans to go to college, and this is how the money is spent???? There is no educational value or purpose in her attendance at Rutgers” Tikva Yudkowitz, Teaneck, NJ – Parent of three current Rutgers students

“Students should be given the right to choose where to apply their mandatory student fee, the very same right that alumni currently have for the distribution of their annual Rutgers’ Fund donations. They should be allowed to opt their fees out of non-essential services or events they do not believe are valuable to the University.” George Flanagan, Old Bridge – Rutgers Alumnus

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