Student Association votes for referendum on Student Activity Fee
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.”