New referendum underway, could significantly increase student fees

Madison Diemert
News Editor

OPINION

A new referendum is underway as of Wednesday.

In a post on the Centennial Student Union’s blog, Student Government approved a 4.9 percent increase to the Student Activity Fee. This will require a student referendum to pass, of course. This will be taking place on Tuesday, April 9 as a part of the elections.

There are many problems with this post and the referendum in general.  

Firstly, the post does not inform students on what the increase will actually go toward. Instead, it only mentions 11 out of the 37 student-activity related organizations, but does not state which organizations in particular will be using the funds. 

This is problematic in that students do not know exactly where their money is going. As the post says, with this increase will cost students $8.77 per credit hour. This maxes out to $105.24, an increase of $4.92 since last year. This is a lot of money for students to be spending on something they do not entirely know about. 

An itemized list should be published and made public for students to review which groups would be getting what amount of money. This can help students decide on how they want to vote, and not including such a list makes it seem as if the article is being intentionally deceptive. 

Secondly, the diction used in the post is exceptionally misleading. It states, “If the referendum fails to pass, a 2.3 percent cut will be made to each of the 37 groups who rely on the budget. In addition, $25,000 would be added to the budget from SAF reserves. These changes would bring the percent change down from 4.9 to 1.91.”

This makes it seem as if the SAF budget is getting cut, when in reality if this referendum does not get passed, SAF is still getting an increase of 1.91 percent. Wording the article in such a way may confuse some students and should have been looked over before being published. 

This post is also one of the only advertisements on the referendum. Not having advertised this around campus and making sure most students know is very concerning. If the student body does not know about the details of the referendum or voting, Student Government cannot get accurate numbers on how many students actually support or reject the increase.

The sports referendum that just recently passed the approval of a new sports bubble was also swept under the rug, so to speak. Both referendums take place during a very busy time for students, so many do not have this sort of thing on their radar. There was also very little reporting on both. The sports referendum had just 2,915 votes, out of around 15,000 students. There is a disproportion in these numbers. It is probable that the number of students voting on this referendum will be just as low, with the way it was introduced to the students.  

One concerned student said that they would prefer another voting day. Just like the sports referendum, there will only be one day to vote on this increase. The student also pointed out that another day in voting might increase the number of voters, as many students could be too busy to carve out time in their schedule. 

If Student Government wants an accurate representation of how many students approve or disapprove of this increase, they would keep in mind these concepts. 

Header photo courtesy of Flickr.

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