University to Discontinue Student Fee Charged to Support UConnPIRG

Oak Leaf Gray - UConn Logo
Oak Leaf Gray - UConn Logo

At the Board of Trustees meeting held on April 25, Vice President John Saddlemire told the board that the University would no longer charge students an annual fee to support UConnPIRG, an on-campus student group.

UConnPIRG is a local chapter of the national Public Interest Research Group, an activist organization.

Saddlemire, vice president for student affairs, told the board that for a period of years, UConnPIRG, which has been funded through a $5 fee charged to UConn students as part of their fee bill, has not provided the University with all of the necessary documentation detailing how the funds allocated to them are being spent.

The University has a fiduciary responsibility under state law to ensure campus organizations that are funded by student fees are appropriately governing themselves and properly accounting for where the money allocated to them is going and the purpose it is being used for.

“For a lengthy period of time, UConnPIRG has been unable to provide the University with all of the proper documentation regarding their expenditures, as is required of every similar student organization,” said Saddlemire. “In light of this, the University can no longer allow UConnPIRG to continue to be funded through student fees. The group is welcome to continue to exist as a campus organization, but must determine other avenues of funding.”

Following a routine audit by UConn’s Office of Audit, Compliance, and Ethics, the University found that UConnPIRG sends a substantial portion of their funds to the state and national PIRG organizations. UConnPIRG has not documented for the University how these funds are being used for the benefit of UConn students by those organizations, and has not adequately responded to the University’s request that they do so, said Saddlemire.

Audits have previously been conducted on other similar student fee organizations, which were found to be operating appropriately.