Staff Editorial: Student fee increase must pass

For the second time this school year the Student Association is proposing a student fee increase to supplement funds for the several hundreds of student organizations on campus. As this page has asserted through the failed attempts, we firmly agree with such a proposition and believe that the student body should embrace this opportunity.

Unlike the vote last semester, the current referendum will only entail students pay 50-cents per credit hour. This amount will then be matched by University contributions. “I think the University realized that we are really struggling and that doesn’t look good for the University as a whole,” SA President Nicole Capp told The Hatchet last week. “They want to help and give an incentive to students (to raise the student fee).”

This compromise on the part of the University speaks volumes in representing their commitment to student life. This page believes that students, in turn, must match this commitment by voting online tomorrow.

Life at an urban college can be intimidating and present fewer opportunities for involvement in student organizations. This is especially true when smaller organizations are left the crumbs of the financial pie after the budget allocations. Even the funds available to the largest students organizations on campus are often unsatisfactory to their leaders and members. Increasing student funds would take the first step toward uniting a stronger campus community, devoted especially to student life.

Yet students will not be apt to vote of they do not know the issues at hand, or even if such a referendum is up for a vote. In the last election last September, only about 1,400 students took minutes out of their day to participate and the proposition failed by a mere 2 percent. Unfortunately this time around, many students are equally unaware. Student leader have failed to adequately publicize this measure, fostering the conditions for an equally low turn out as in the fall.

This page supports actions that will promote and effectively use this student fee increase. A prevalent concern among voters is the allocation of funds if the referendum is passed. The SA must ensure that these funds will meet the needs of organizations that are often left seriously under funded. “There is no way to function on a budget that was designed for 100 student organizations (when we now have 400),” SA Sen. Nick D’Addario (U-at-Large) told The Hatchet last week. If the funds from this increase are managed effectively, the hundreds of student organizations on campus could thrive instead of simply survive.

In the next 24 hours, student leaders should impress upon student organization members the far-reaching effects of this measure. Current GW students will not even be burdened with the financial effects, since if passed, the increase would not be put into practice until the class of 2012. Students have the unique opportunity to be idealistic for the future of GW student life without actually having to foot the bill.

While this page stands behind this measure, it also believes that a second failure in one year should eliminate further discussion of this increase as is. Hopefully this second go-around will spell success for desperately needed student organization funds.

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