Mar 222012
 
Authors: Sarah Fenton

After weeks of heavy discussion and debate, members of the Associated Students of CSU took an official stance against unnecessary student fee increases during Wednesday’s senate session.

A resolution written by College of Liberal Arts Senator Joe Eden, who is running for ASCSU vice president, titled, “Urging Student Fee Funded Areas to Avoid Fee Increases,” (Resolution 4106) came before senate in order to address the burden student fee increases will have on students in the upcoming fiscal year.

“All I had in mind for that was to remind student fee areas that we are all students and we’re feeling that burden,” said Eden, who is running alongside presidential candidate Regina Martel.

The resolution urges student fee funded areas to avoid fee increases by exploring “alternative avenues of funding,” and cites tuition hikes and tough financial times as a basis for the argument.

While most resolutions take multiple weeks to adopt, Resolution 4106 was voted into emergency status after a 30-minute discussion and debate session.

In simple terms, the resolution was, in Eden’s mind, a statement that promoted fiscal responsibility –– something he expected to pass without much incident. However the resolution met more controversy than he expected.

Although the sentiment of the resolution was widely accepted, there were also members who felt the presentation overstepped boundaries. And for some senators who had personal experience with the Student Fee Review Board, it was more of an insult than a reminder.

“I feel that each and every member (of SFRB) are cognizant of the fact that the fees are going up. We have been doing our job,” said College of Natural Sciences Senator Robert Harris, who is also a member of SFRB. “This reminder, even though it is just a reminder, I feel just a little attacked.”

This surprised Eden, who said it wasn’t his intention to attack anyone.

“I understand that they’re doing their job and that they are doing it to the best of their abilities. I just wanted to remind them to keep on track with that,” Eden said.

For SFRB Vice Chair Wendy Bowling, the biggest concern was that the SFRB process has thus far been dependent on intense scrutiny of each proposed student fee increase. Bowling also expressed a concern that the SFRB process was misunderstood.

“I think that they raised some very legitimate questions,” Eden said. “I think that those concerns were addressed, and in the end the passing of this resolution is very good for this whole student body.”

In the end, Senate will have the chance to review all student fee proposals when the SFRB long bill comes before them in the coming weeks. While the official presence of Resolution 4106 will be an important consideration for SFRB members, according to Bowling, it is only a suggestion and does not officially mandate them to avoid fee increases.

“I have a positive reaction to this resolution because I believe Senate is representing the voice of students and I welcome that,” Bowling said. “I do want it to be known though that SFRB is doing the best that it can to get student feedback and input on these fee areas. I value student opinion. I value Senate’s opinion, and I believe Student Fee Review Board will as well.”

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

The latest proposed fee increases:

3 percent increase requested by the Women and Gender Advocacy Center
8 percent increase requested by School of the Arts
1.34 percent increase requested by the office of Student Leadership, Involvement and Community Engagement (SLiCE)

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