Opinion: SA should scale the activity fee based on people’s circumstances
I don’t agree with the scaling of the student activity fee. The fee in 2017-2018 was $110 (per semester?) for students taking 12 or more credits, $82.50 for 9-11 credits, and $55.00 for 6-8 credits. The student activity fee funds groups, clubs, programs, and other activities of the Student Association.Full-time commuter, off-campus, or non-traditional students, who pay the full amount, have less free time to engage and participate in these clubs, groups, and programs. Therefore, they should pay less in student activity fees.
Full-time commuters, off-campus, and non-traditional students do not attend or participate in many clubs, programs, or groups anyways. Meeting usually run late at night; some start at 6:30 p.m and others as late as 8:00 p.m. A full-time student like myself who lives an hour away, I won’t get home until 10 p.m. And for a full-time student like myself who has children, participating in a club or group is not doable.
In an article written on December 7, 2016, Austin Ostro pointed out that there were issues among tickets for Parkfest and acquiring “higher quality and more diverse artists to campus” and that is one reason why he supported an increase in the student activity fees in 2016. But how many full-time commuters, off-campus, or non-traditional students with children come to the campus on the weekend? If these students are not attending these events, then why are they paying the entire amount of student activity fees?
The major concern with proposing a pay scale for full-time commuters, off-campus, and non-traditional students is the impact on funding for groups, clubs, and programs. In 2016, a vote passed to increase the student activity fees from $100 to $110. Ostro explained in the same article that there were a lot of complaints from student group leaders about cuts because there was not enough funding. However, the ASP reported this April that SA has a $600,000 surplus and that SA has $1,500 allocated for t-shirts using student activity fees. It appears the SA is receiving adequate funding and proposing a pay scale for full-time commuters, off-campus, and non-traditional students is not only reasonable but feasible and achievable.
Even if the SA does not have enough funding to support all the clubs, organizations, and programs, then the SA officials and student group leaders need to learn better money management and budgeting skills. If budgeting is a problem, then we need new officials in SA and new student group leaders who can get the job done. We the students should focus more on electing SA officials and student group leaders who are qualified and have the skills to manage the budget rather than voting on popularity. If we reduce wasteful spending, increase transparency, and manage our money more efficiently, the SA budget is more than sufficient to handle the demands of the students with a new pay scale.
If part-time students are allowed a pay scale for their student activity fees, then how come full-time students who live off-campus, commute, or have children pay the full amount of student activity fees? There should be a pay scale for full-time students that factors how far away the student lives by miles and if the student has any children that determine the amount of student activity fee that student pays. It is fair and makes sense to do it that way.