Apr 162012
Authors: Allison Sylte

Monday night, the Student Fee Review Board wrapped up months of deliberation, approving the student fee package it will present to the Associated Students of CSU Senate for the first of three reads on Wednesday night.

But this sense of accomplishment may be short-lived if Senate stays true to a resolution it passed last month, which took a stance against student fee increases.

And if Senate decides not to support SFRB’s version of the student-fee package, which includes increases for the Adult Learners and Veteran’s Services Office, Party Registration and other programs, ASCSU President Eric Berlinberg may have two versions of the Long Bill to present to the CSU System Board of Governors and university administration for final approval.

“Ultimately, SFRB is not a politicized process, whereas Senate sometimes is,” said ASCSU Vice President and SFRB chair Rachel Roberson. “This is a process that’s meant to be unbiased.”

SFRB Vice Chair and ASCSU Director of Finance Wendy Bowling said she felt SFRB’s process has been fair, and she’s satisfied with the Long Bill. SFRB members, she said, are required to speak to 10 students about fee increases before voting on them, and are more educated about fee increases than the Senate.

“Senators don’t have the same obligation to make this a free and equitable as [SFRB] does,” Roberson said.

According to Roberson, Senate has never entirely disagreed with SFRB’s fee package. Many senators, she added, haven’t seen fee increase proposals during their tenure, something she believes may be the catalyst for their opposition.

The Long Bill will first officially meet Senate on Wednesday night. It is required to undergo three reads and two votes before being approved, which will happen at the last Senate meeting of the year, if everything goes according to plan.

However, if Senate decides not to approve the bill, they have the option to draft their own fee proposal, or reject SFRB’s Long Bill outright.

Regardless of Senate’s decision, the version of the Long Bill voted on Monday will be seen by the Board of Governors, and the final decision about what student fee package will be formally presented will be made by university President Tony Frank.

According to Roberson, SFRB, rather than the Senate, is formally recognized by the university as the chief student voice on fees.

Lynn Johnson, CSU’s associate vice president of finance, was present at Monday’s SFRB meeting, and gave SFRB some words of caution as next year’s fee package begins its long journey to the Board of Governors.

“I think it’s in your best interest to the extent you can to show up with one voice,” Johnson said.

Content Managing Editor Allison Sylte can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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