ASU President Michael Crow released his proposal for tuition and fees on March 14. To our collective surprise, his proposal included the botched athletic fee passed by USG last year.
On Oct. 29, the Tempe Undergraduate Student Government, following USG Downtown, Polytechnic and West and the Graduate and Professional Student Association, voted to pass an athletic fee totaling $150 per year. This bill went to ASU President Michael Crow after USG illegitimately approved it.
There was neither a check nor a balance in this process. Crow should have recognized the terrible scourge that this USG disaster entailed. There was a good chance for a person in power to step in and stop this mess before it was passed on to the Arizona Board of Regents for approval.
Why didn’t Crow recognize this affront to democracy? He could have addressed this issue by sending the bill back to USG to be re-passed.
Crow neither confirmed nor denied that the bill was passed unethically, and he assumed innocence when asked about problems that might de-legitimize USG:
“We don’t engage in that, and so what happens is that sometimes there’ll be another election or sometimes the student court system will make a ruling and then you guys will cover the story and sort of get everybody informed as to what’s going on.”
Without any kind of checks or balances that a democracy needs to function, Crow claims in a statement made to ASU students on Tuesday that “(ASU is) moving ahead. We’re doing well in terms of our resources. We believe that, with the kind of retention rates we have and the way in which the institution is working, we are at a very stable moment.”
However, the ideal of the democratic process was not upheld. We’re not in a stable place, because USG sent Crow a bill that was passed as it broke USG’s own bylaws. How can we accept this new fee without an open and fair process that originated it?
It’s easy to do as Crow has done and wave off the violations of the democratic process in favor of the benefits students could gain.
Despite all these problems, the fee increase was recommended to ABOR. This was a huge mistake on Crow’s part, because this bill could have been passed ethically had he sent it back to USG. That would have upheld the democratic process, and ASU students would not be left distrusting their government.
Now, after all these mistakes, it’s up to ABOR to make things right by listening to students when we tell it how we feel: that the tuition increase passed unethically cannot stand.
ABOR will meet to discuss tuition increases for next year on March 25 from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Memorial Union Alumni Lounge. You can also contact ABOR by email at email@example.com. It’s imperative that students go to this meeting to tell ABOR that the fee bill passed without the consent of those who it will affect. Students, please step in at this point and tell everyone who proposes to tax you that your voice deserves to be heard.
Tell those in charge that you are an important part of the process and that you cannot be ignored.
Student involvement is a key part of the democratic process here at ASU. It’s important to run in elections, go to USG meetings on your campus and go to ABOR meetings in order to represent yourself in the democratic process.
Want to join the conversation? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Keep letters under 300 words and be sure to include your university affiliation. Anonymity will not be granted.