Apr 092012
Authors: Sarah Fenton

Following an almost unanimous vote approving two student fee budgets — including an increase in the Lory Student Center and CSU Health Network fees, members of the Student Fee Review Board heard the budget proposals from the last three student fee–funded areas.

The approved budgets together will cost students $10.31 more in fees next year compared to the current year’s rate, meaning that students will pay an extra $2.22 fee per semester for the Lory Student Center and an extra $8.09 fee for the CSU Health Network.

After talking to students during the previous week, Perdeep Badhesha, a first-year board member and ASCSU senator, reported that students welcomed the fee increase for the LSC.

“The students I talked to really love the LSC and so they were okay with the increase,” Badhesha said. “They also really like how much it (the LSC) employs students.”

While the LSC fee passed unanimously among those who did not abstain from voting, the $8.09 fee increase for the CSU Health Network did not go unchallenged.

The health network fee splits up into two general areas and, although many who attended the discussion and debate expressed support for the first part of the fee — a 99-cent fee for the counseling center — SFRB Vice Chair Wendy Bowling felt that the second part of the fee — a $7.10 fee for the Hartshorn Health Center — was too large.

“I still believe that $7 for Hartshorn is very large. I would like to see them increase the cost of other services instead,” said Bowling, who ultimately voted “no” for the fee.

During the meeting, three other student fee–funded areas presented budgets to the board, including the University Technology Fee Advisory Board, the University Facilities Advisory Board and ASCSU.

None of the three asked for increases, but ASCSU’s presentation did include an appearance from student government’s president and vice president-elect Regina Martel and Joe Eden, who stood in front of the board with their version of what the ASCSU student fees should look like in the coming year.

With the help of ASCSU Finance Director Wendy Bowling and ASCSU Controller Taylor Jackson, Martel and Eden designed a budget in which they did not need to request an increase.

Eden and Martel said they were able to defer fee increases by using $88,000 in rollover money left by this year’s administration. They added that, by using the rollover funds instead of increasing the student fee, they are fulfilling promises made on their campaign trail.

“Our vision is to be the most responsive to student need,” said Eden, who will chair SFRB next year.

Despite the fact that ASCSU is not asking for an increase in student fees next year, on-campus students will continue to foot a $35.92 bill in student fees for ASCSU, and off-campus students see one totalling $25.26 for student government.

According to the board, $1 million of this revenue will be allocated to outside contracts that support programs such as the late-night bus route and the collegiate readership program.

Despite a majority of positive input from the board, SFRB member Steve Johnson said this particular budget is, and has been, a potential “wild card,” because nobody can say for certain how the future administrations campaign promises will impact the budget.

As the future chair of the SFRB, Eden said objectivity will define his role at the table next year.
“The biggest change that I am going to enact is getting a wider array of participation from a wider array of areas across campus,” he said.

Eden didn’t specify exactly how he intended to make this change; however, he did mention the use of student forums and a general increase in student outreach in next year’s SFRB process.

As for this year, the board now has to put together an entire package, which will present all 16 fee-funded areas to the ASCSU Senate, CSU general administration and finally the Board of Governors by early May.

“The final vote is the climax of your experience. If you are not going to bring this issue to students, don’t show up next week,” said Rachel Roberson, current SFRB chair, urging members at the end of the meeting.

ASCSU Beat Reporter Sarah Fenton can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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