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Student Association votes for referendum on Student Activity Fee

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By Kassie Parisi and Madeline St. Amour

Managing Editor/ Associate News Editor




The Student Association voted to hold a referendum on the Student Activity Fee at their meeting on March 11.

Earlier in the day, during the general SA election, the Student Activity Fee appeared on the ballot. The fee was previously mandatory, but students voted to make it voluntary for the next academic year.

As it stands, the fee is $100 per semester for full-time students.

The money from the fee funds student groups, such as Middle Earth and 5Quad. It also pays for events like the Speaker Series and ParkFest, as well as student legal services and Dippikill.

The vote was 35 in favor, zero against, and two abstentions.

One senator, Christian Chowdhury, said that students would still be able to vote for a voluntary fee, but that he and other senators believed that not enough was done to educate students about the effects of their votes.

“There at least needs to be a chance for them to be educated about it,” he said.

The outcome was 896 votes in favor of a voluntary fee and 852 in favor of a mandatory fee. There were 146 abstentions.

Senator Raymond Webb said that while many students weren’t educated about what they were voting for, “there were a lot of students who were pissed off with the way we’re handling their money.”

“Students do care, the outcry after the fee was voted down is proof of that,” Helmi Teklu, marketing director, said.

Money from the fee also goes towards stipends for some members of SA, including the president, vice president, and other offices.

There is an estimated $600,000 in SA reserves currently, said Daniel Markisello, the senate chair.

Senator Conner Dunleavy said that he believes that SA should not set a precedent of overturning outcomes of votes that they don’t agree with.

“If it [the vote] is held again and the result is not something you agree with, please accept the outcome of the democratic process, respect the will of the students,” he said. “That’s an insult to students.”



1 Comment

  1. Lawrence
    March 12, 2015 at 2:37 pm — Reply

    If SA will not honor the election results, then SA leaves students only a few options to be heard.

    After receiving outside legal advice, we (a group of students) intend to file a lawsuit if SA moved forward with another referendum on the Student Activity Fee.

    It is clear that this Bylaw change has been made solely to circumvent the election results. So let’s be equally clear, each Senator that voted in favor of this bylaw change will be named in the lawsuit. When you look to Student Legal Services for advice, we will motion to have Joe Zumbo removed as counsel due to conflict of interest (his fate is tied to the outcome.) You should expect that you will need to pay for your own attorney.

    Student Groups – Quick math suggests that most student groups would financially benefit by a voluntary fee. Take your $200 and do with it what you choose rather than beg SA for group funding.

    Lastly, how dare these people insult us. We are educated – we just think the problem IS that the fee is mandatory. SA, if you think the fee is so important, spend your time convincing students to voluntarily contribute.

    We’ll be watching.

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