SPECIAL SERIES : WILL STUDENTS PAY MORE?
Student Center Fee Raise Overdue
$30 increase would be tacked onto the current $52 student center fee gradually over three years.
April 7, 2004 12:03 PM
The Student Center Governing Board is asking students to approve a referendum, Proposition C, to vote to increase fees for the Student Center on April 6, 7 and 8.
The proposed $30 increase would be implemented gradually over three years, with the first $10 increase coming in the fall of 2005. Students currently pay $52 per semester for the student center.
The Cesar Chavez Student Center is entirely funded by the Student Center fee and revenue from vendors. It is a separate entity from the university and receives no money from the state. The proposed increase would allow the Student Center to continue to improve and expand its facilities, programs and events, including live bands and music in Malcolm X Plaza and The Depot, exhibits in the art gallery and an expanded Jack Adams Hall.
Unlike the referendums students voted on in March, the student center referendum was not born out of crisis and has been strategically planned.
In fact, it is overdue. According to Aimee Barnes, program development officer for the Richard Oakes Multicultural Center, the referendum is a proactive step designed to be easier on students and their pocketbooks.
“In 1991, students affirmed an increase for the student center that was designed to last 10 years. We’re already three, really four, years over the original plan,” Barnes said.
If the students defeat the referendum, the Student Center would be faced with cutting back on service hours, possibly having to charge for services they offer for free, such as meeting rooms, the art gallery and live shows at The Depot. The mom-and-pop food vendors could be pushed out by higher rent prices or raise prices to pay their rent. Staff also would have to be cut. Students make up 85 percent of the employees in the Student Center.
“One dollar now doesn’t mean what one dollar did 14 years ago,” added Karen Carrington, accounting supervisor and student. “Students were open to receiving information and learning what they are getting for their money. Sentiment seems to be ‘Wow, this is really necessary.' ”
Opponents of the Student Center referendum don’t feel that all of the students at SF State should have to pay for something that only some use.
A statement against the proposed fee adjustment in voter information pamphlets circulated on campus said, “It’s unfair to expect that students who are already financially strapped to spend additional dollars to fund lounge and study space that should be included in the tuition we pay! Not all students should have to pay for the Student Center.”
Should the students vote no on the referendum, the Student Center Governing Board will regroup and plan for next year, without any immediate major changes since the increase would not be implemented until fall of 2005.
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