On Tuesday night, nearly two-thirds of participating students voted to reject the Associated Student Body‘s proposal to raise the Student Activities Fee from $5 to $10.
The proposal was placed on the homecoming ballot after the ASB Senate voted unanimously to hold a student referendum. If it was accepted by the student body, ASB would have sent it as a proposal to the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning.
The raise would have doubled the budget that the ASB can use to assist in funding registered student organizations (RSO).
Jordan Maupin, a sophomore elementary education major and one of of the 63.9% of students who voted to reject the proposal, said she voted no because she didn’t know why ASB needed to increase the fee in the first place.
“If they had given more information about why they wanted to raise (the student activities fee), I probably would have voted yes, but they didn’t,” Maupin said. “They just asked for more money and didn’t give any reason to give them more money. I feel like we already give them a lot of money.”
Avery Sadler, a junior integrated marketing communications major, echoed Maupin’s concerns and confusion about the use of the funding.
“I didn’t know what it was, and I didn’t see where the money would be going,” Sadler said.
The ASB‘s “Raise it 5” campaign emailed all RSO presidents, and representatives from ASB met individually with RSO’s as well, ASB Treasurer Gianna Schuetz said.
“The students simply were not in support of the $5 raise,” Schuetz said.
Schuetz said that she could “just go on and on for hours about how beneficial this small increase would be,” but acknowledged that this referendum was successful because a large portion of the student body exercised their rights as voters.
Other students who voted ‘no’ said that the cost of rising tuition affected their decision.
“We already pay so much for school, they don’t need more of our money,” Erin Oakes, a sophomore psychology major said.
Rex Ravita, a journalism major, tweeted that he didn’t support the raise because “tuition raises almost 5% every year already so its expensive.”
ASB President Barron Mayfield said that in addition to believing passing a referendum would have benefitted the proposal with the IHL, he said the vote was held to give students an opportunity to express their opinions. The raise was part of Mayfield’s platform during his campaign in the spring.
“I was disappointed because it would have been a huge boost to our student organizations, but the process worked,” Mayfield said. “We put this on the ballot because we wanted to know if it was something students wanted to do. In the end, it wasn’t and we can use that information to work more effectively for the student body.”
He added that despite the bill’s unanimous passing in the ASB Senate, they will not attempt to move forward with any raises.
“While I supported raising it, the students spoke loud and clear,” Mayfield said.