The Student Association senate voted unanimously on Tuesday night to hold a University-wide referendum on a 50-cent per credit hour increase of the one-dollar student fee.
The student fee fund, which is used to support student organizations, will receive an additional 50 cents per credit hour from University funds if the student fee increase goes into effect, SA President Nicole Capp said.
“We, as students, have a unique and unparalleled opportunity to enhance student life on campus by passing the student fee increase,” said Capp, a junior. “The University administration and (Executive Vice President and Treasurer) Lou Katz are being extraordinarily supportive in their commitment to match the fee increase, and we must capitalize on this opportunity.”
Since 1992, the student fee has remained at $1 per credit hour. Fourteen years later, this fee has not been adjusted to include the growth of student organizations or inflation. If the referendum passes, it would not affect any students until the class of 2012.
“I think the University realized that we are really struggling and that doesn’t look good for the University as a whole,” Capp said. “They want to help and give an incentive to students (to raise the student fee).”
SA Sen. Matt Cohen (SoB-U) stressed the importance of holding the referendum.
“This is something that has been a long time coming,” Cohen said.
Cohen, the chair of the finance committee and a senior, said if the referendum is passed by students, next year’s finance chair would have a significantly larger amount of money to work with.
“(If this is passed), next year’s finance chair will be able to satisfy a lot more people,” Cohen said.
Almost all SA senators present agreed that a student fee increase is long overdue.
“I don’t think we need to spend a lot of time debating this; we need to (increase the student fee),” said SA Sen. Nick D’Addario (U-at-Large) a senior. “There is no way to function on a budget that was designed for 100 student organizations (when we now have 400).”
The SA held a referendum early this fall semester to increase the student fee. The referendum was voted down by 52 percent of students, according to the Special Elections Committee, which oversaw the election. Capp said the failure to pass the fee increase in the fall was due to poor advertising.
“The last election was very rushed,” she said.
Cohen said that this time around marketing is the key to getting this referendum passed.
“Its all about publicity and marketing,” he said. “If it’s all packaged and marketed properly, I think students will get the correct message this time around.”
Capp said the SA is determined to get this fee increase passed.
“The student leaders seem a bit more energized this time than they were last time because the University is prepared to also come forth and assist us in providing ourselves with more funds,” Capp said.
The referendum is scheduled to take place in on Feb. 12. If the students pass the referendum, the Board of Trustees must still approve the student fee increase before it can go into effect.