There is no conversation more boring than the one where everybody agrees.
Volume 73 | Issue 3
May 2005

Public Policy Update

The most significant news for ACUI in the public policy arena is that the Board of Trustees recently appointed our new public policy liaison. Kim Savage, planning, policy development and communication director for Campus Auxiliary Services at the University of Illinois-Chicago, is highly qualified and an excellent fit for this role having worked in higher education for 26 years and having run for public offices on several occasions.

On Capital Hill May and June are predicted to be active months in terms of education issues. While there are a great number of issues vying for Congress's attention, the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act was actually scheduled for 2004. The following are issues of interest to college union and student activities professionals, some of which are likely to attract attention on the Hill during the next few months:

CCAMPIS Act (Child care):

This is likely to be reintroduced in the coming months. The current act seeks to increase, to a maximum of $30,000 per institution, the grants for which institutions can apply. As a member of the Consortium on Governmental Relations in Student Affairs, ACUI is listed as a supporter of this legislation.

Charitable Giving Act:

This act is intended to allow student organizations to accept charitable gifts for the direct improvement of physical space. Because most student organizations do not have housing corporations or physical structures, the bill most impacts fraternities and sororities. The act will allow for benefactors to contribute to the improvement of academic-related spaces, not social or recreational facilities.

Textbook Affordability Act:

This legislation was recently referred to Senate finance committee, which has been focused on budget issues during the past two to three months and has not had time to focus on this specific issue. This act could be important if your institution's bookstore is part of your organization. It could also indirectly affect the union in a number of ways, most notably if the bookstore is housed in the union on your campus.

"Bryan's Law":

This legislation is concerned with notification of parents or guardians by institutions in the event that a student is missing for more than 24 hours. The bill has stalled due to lack of bipartisan support, but is likely to be reintroduced as an amendment to the overall authorization of the Higher Education Act. Bryan's Law would require institutions to follow federal standards for reporting missing persons to parents or guardians, which could mean restructuring of local policies, forms, and procedures.

For more information about public policy and these pieces of legislation, visit www.acui.org.