Student Association leaders renew fight against fees

Student Association President John Richardson shared plans to refocus his fee task force, charging members to take on a more active role in seeking out fees across the University at Monday night's SA Senate meeting. Bryan Hoechner | Hatchet Photographer

GW’s top two student leaders promised Monday to soon publish a comprehensive list of fees to eliminate, despite the red tape and roadblocks University administrators have allegedly thrown in the duo’s way, Student Association President John Richardson said during the SA’s first senate meeting of the semester.

Richardson and Executive Vice President Ted Costigan laid out plans to target fees in September, creating a student-led task force that relied on University administrative offices to report all fees under each department those offices oversee.

Richardson acknowledged the approach was not working.

“If you want to do something right, you’ve got to do it yourself,” Richardson said to the SA Senate. “We relied on people who weren’t as interested in cost-of-attendance issues as we were.”

The task force, which meets every other week, hopes to release a full list of fees by late February, Costigan said.

Richardson also spent several minutes reporting on other projects, including collaborative student space on the Marvin Center’s fourth floor and efforts to restore free newspapers to campus. He also issued an apology to the senators, in response to a Jan. 17 Hatchet article in which Richardson lashed out against senators for inaction throughout the fall.

“I didn’t feel there was some sort of internal strife. I was just frustrated for how the conversation was going. I do value what a lot of you guys are doing,” Richardson said.

He then challenged members for the second time this year to “pick one advocacy goal” related to their specific schools and make progress on that initiative before the semester’s end.

The body also confirmed Richardson’s third appointee to the Joint Elections Committee, former senator and sophomore Kirk Wilson.

Wilson said that as a member, he would help JEC Chair Phil Gardner steer the committee away from its role as “the watchdog” of the election.

“We’re going to monitor as we’re supposed to,” Wilson said. “But we’re not going to go out there and nitpick.”

Sen. Michael Amesquita, G-GSEHD, voiced concern that this year’s election oversight committee would take a looser approach to the JEC’s charter to focus on boosting publicity.

“If they’re not the ones who are going to be nitpicking and making sure it is fair to everyone, I’m not sure who will be,” Amesquita said.

The senate’s standing committees also shared thought about new initiatives such as launching an online syllabi bank and overhauling graduate student organization funding.

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