ASCSU passes bill

Apr 272005
Authors: Erin Tracy, Lila Hickey

For the second week, the Associated Students of CSU debated heavily and heatedly over the student fee package for the 2005-2006 school year. Ultimately, the senate passed the bill, good news for Judy Muenchow, the director of Campus Recreation and Larry Penley, president of Colorado State University.

The bill, which outlines fee changes for various student-funded organizations, included two highly contentious issues: whether to let faculty buy passes to the student recreation center, and the introduction of a new, $10 per-credit-hour fee sponsored and heavily advocated by Penley and ASCSU President Katie Clausen.

Clausen and President-elect Courtney Stephens both supported the bill, and said that they understood the financial burden the new fee will place on students, but felt the university had to replace vanished state funding for construction and repairs to campus facilities.

"I think (the senate) did what was necessary and in the interest of the students, short-term and long-term," Clausen said.

Economics major Sean Lovato, a member of the Student Recreation Advisory Board, presented the senate with a series of reasons he believed faculty should be allowed in the center, and the idea met with heated argument from various senators.

"It is called the 'Student's Recreational Center' for a reason," said Crystal Plant, a senator for the College of Business.

Last week, senators suggested that surveys conducted by Campus Recreation that seemed to show student support for faculty passes were biased and confusing. Of the 1,619 students who responded to last year's ASCSU Trends Survey, about 45 percent said they agreed with allowing faculty and staff to buy gym passes to "help off-set the cost of operating programs and services." By contrast, only about 14 percent of students said they disagreed with the idea.

Muenchow said she was pleased with the senate's endorsement of her proposal.

"I think it's a win-win situation," she said. "Look at the number of times we've been here. We really needed this."

Another controversial issue was the facilities fee, which was strongly supported by some senators but also vehemently opposed by others.

Graduate School Sen. Jason Furtado opposed the fee, pointing out that students who are rarely on the Main Campus – like those traveling abroad and studying at the Pingree Park campus – would be paying for buildings they wouldn't use.

Linda Kuk, vice president for student affairs, disagreed with Furtado, saying that anyone who graduates from CSU is affected by the school's reputation and that better buildings would improve the quality and perceived quality of a degree from CSU.

But some senators were still not comfortable with the bill.

"I don't want this fee. I can say this from my personal standpoint," said Senator Shelby Woods of the College of Liberal Arts.

But Woods conceded that if the money for facilities comes in the form of a student fee, the students have some measure of control, whereas the university administration would have total control of any tuition increase.

"This is about the only way we can do this with students' input," she said.

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