The issue

On February 26, 2018, the Student Affairs Committee of the CUNY Board of Trustees introduced a proposal that would drastically change CUNY students rights to govern their student activity fees. These changes would redefine and repurpose student activity fees at the twenty-five colleges of the university.


CUNY’s General Counsel and Vice Chancellor for Legal Affairs, Loretta Martinez, introduced the proposal and gave an overview of the principal changes to the committee. Two main reasons were given for introducing this set of changes: the first is that the changes would bring CUNY in legal compliance with a recent settlement, and the second is that the changes reflect a set of best practices for the governing and administering of student activity fees at public institutions of higher learning.


For a number of reasons, the students on the committee have raised strong objections to the proposed student activity fee changes. Chief among these objections is the fact that students would lose governing authority over most of the student activity fee dollars; that power would be transferred to a college association board that will have student representation but will be majority administration and faculty. The proposal also seeks to encroach on the categories students could spend student activity fees, including ending students rights to engage in community service programs with student activity fees. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, General Counsel Martinez is asking that this proposal is considered for approval within the next three months, despite the fact that very few students, faculty, and administrators on the local campus have seen or grasped the consequences of a proposal that would overhaul the system.


Please see the webcast from the committee meeting below:

Reference and Background Documents

Frequently Asked Questions on FAQ

This document is designed to explain the intricacies of student activities at CUNY. 


Student Activity Fee Breakdown for all CUNY Colleges 

Every CUNY campus has different allocations. Compare them with the link above. 


SAF Collections and Surplus Summary

The is currently over 30 million dollars in student activity surpluses. See the breakdown above. 


CUNY Bylaws

For reference, the link above shows you a complete list of the CUNY Board of Trustees Bylaws


Fiscal Accountability Handbook

The Fiscal Handbook governs student activity fees on your campus.


College Association Guidelines

The college associations are crucial to the management of student fees. 


Queens College Settlement

The Queens College settlement is often cited as the impetus to the proposed reforms. 


Viewpoint Neutrality Case Law Analysis

Guide to student activity fees from the Center for Campus Free Speech


Viewpoint Neutrality Powerpoint

Powerpoint presentation delivered by at USS March Plenary 

USS Resolution on Student Activity Fees Adopeted on March 4, 2018
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University Student Senate

Phone: 646.664.8844 Fax: 666.664.8863

The University Student Senate (USS) of the City University of New York (CUNY) was founded in 1972 with the mission of preserving the accessibility, affordability, and excellence of higher education within the City University of New York; the organization is charged with protecting the rights of the student body, furthering the cause of public higher education and promoting the general welfare of its student constituents and the University. The USS delegates are responsible for the representative governance of the 500,000 students of the 24 CUNY campuses.