The Associated Student Body Senate unanimously voted to put a student activities fee increase on the ballot so ASB can take the bill to the Institutions of Higher Learning, raising the fee from the original $5 per semester to $10.
ASB President Barron Mayfield, treasurer Gianna Schuetz, Sen. Morgan Atkins, Sen. Michael Messina and Sen. Jack Furla co-wrote the resolution.
Mayfield said that if ASB voted to put the activity fee increase on the ballot, students would get to speak out about it next Tuesday, then ASB would take it to IHL.
“Unfortunately, IHL gets the final say, so this would be us taking this to them and requesting them to raise the student activities fee,” Mayfield said.
Schuetz said that when she served as ASB treasurer last year, she brought up the idea of raising the student activities fee. She also said that this was something that would immensely help student organizations.
“I’ve really been pushing this,” Schuetz said. “Barron has given his support behind this and put this as the priority of things that he wanted ASB to sponsor and to bring toward students.”
Schuetz said that there were a lot of restrictions when it came to funding registered student organizations, including how much money IHL provides to ASB.
“We can only fund up to $4,000 per semester,” Schuetz said. “There’s limits on speaker fees and there’s limits on things like T-shirt prices, so with the increased student activity fee, we can lift and raise those internal regulations.”
The resolution unanimously passed Tuesday night, when the ASB Senate also elected three new senators and passed a resolution memorializing Ally Kostial. The three new senators elected were Noah Hubbard, Sarah Slade and Shivum Desai.
Atkins, who helped write the activities fee increase resolution, said she first heard about the student activities fee at the SEC Student Government Exchange over the summer.
“I was able to hear other schools talk about how much higher all of (their student activities fee) was, and how much more they were able to do with it, and how much funding they were able to give to student organizations,” Atkins said. “That was something we all kind of took to heart, like this is something we want to do. I want to be able to help my fellow students. That was the one thing that made me take up the cause and make it hit close to home.”
Atkins said she felt optimistic about how students would feel about raising the student activities fee.
“I hope that they’ll understand that the small payoff in the beginning has a lot greater benefits in the long run,” Atkins said.
Mayfield said that he felt positive about the students’ reactions that are to come next week.
“Most of the feedback we’ve gotten has been positive,” Mayfield said.
Messina said that the bill was a collaboration between the executive branch, treasury and legislative branch. He also said that he thought it was a good idea to hold a referendum, or a student vote, next week. The referendum would be included in the homecoming elections on Tuesday.
“I want (the resolution) to be something that the students can vote on themselves,” Messina said. “The fact that it would be something that affects all students, we just wanted to be sure…this was an overall consensus.”
Many ASB senators spoke in support of the resolution. Sen. Silas Nelson said he supported the resolution, and that letting students decide whether they are for or against the student activities fee by voting is important.
Schuetz said that the student activities fee is something she’s passionate about, and as a member of the treasury department since her freshman year, she’s noticed how time and time again, ASB only funds 20% less than what student organizations are requesting for.
“When you look at it, it’s $5. You’ll be paying five more dollars a semester, so $10 total for the year,” Schuetz said. “How many Starbucks coffees could you buy with $10?”
The raising of the student activities fee would be implemented next year if it went into action.