USG executives need to develop group to lobby for students

As Student Government elections boil down to a close, there is work ahead, and if you’re a victor, you need to be a part of it.

For the past year, current student government executives have been working on a plan with campuses across the state, the purpose being to develop a new organization that can lobby on behalf of students.

To give context to this situation, the Arizona Student’s Association (ASA) established in 1974, was the primary external organization focused on lobbying on behalf of students to the state. A few years ago however, their funding model was rejected by the Arizona Board of Regents following controversial decisions made by their organization.

The heat of the controversy surrounded a $100,000 donation to a ballot Proposition, as many questioned whether or not mandatory-fee-money should be used in direct political activity. The Arizona Board of Regents voted to make the once mandatory $2 fee, an ‘opt-in’ fee, and ASA lost much of its integral strength.

This meant that the main structure in place to advocate and lobby on behalf of students was absent, and the responsibility then moved to the individual student governments. After watching last year’s budget cuts of $99 million to our universities, and the disorganization that ensued in fighting it, I have come to the conclusion that it is imperative to create a new organization to do their work.

The Arizona Student Government Collaborative is the replacement we need to seek. While ASA was a third party group, the student governments will have full control of ASGC’s activities and funding. This new organization will be able to coordinate the three universities to action, when circumstances such as the $99 million in budget cuts occur, as well as coordinate lobbying days at the capitol.

By having this structure in place, it will give us a better chance to win more University funding to better aid our students. I am sure you have heard time and time again the student frustration of tuition increases and additional fees. This is an opportunity for our school to vote on legislation that will bring much needed action to fruition

I plead on behalf of my constituents here on the Downtown campus, and the students on every campus, for USG executives everywhere to pass legislation to support this new organization. 

It was encouraging to see a platform piece very similar to this in the Bishop ticket’s platform to support a pan-university opposition to budget cuts. It is important for every campus to buy into this idea, otherwise our united front will be less effective.

Reach the columnist at or follow @jimsthebeast on Twitter.

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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