USG votes to oppose student fee increase

Opinions clashed Tuesday night at the Tempe Undergraduate Student Government senate meeting over a proposed student fee increase.

After hearing speeches from student organization representatives and deliberating, the senate unanimously voted to formally oppose the increase, joining the Associated Students of ASU Downtown senate in the opposition.

However, the senate’s opinion was just a formality, since it is up to the Presidents Council to make the official decision about whether to increase the student fee. The Presidents Council comprises presidents from each campus student government and the Graduate and Professional Students Association.

Before voting, senators asked questions concerning exactly how the money would be used, as well as why half the revenue from the fee would go to athletics.

Vice President of Policy Michael Wong opposed the fee increase. He said the senate’s vote on this bill would be the single most important vote USG senators would make in their careers as senators at ASU. He said their vote could directly affect students and their ability to get a quality education, versus a few students going to sporting events.

“Do you want to vote to pay for 4,000 students to go to a football game or to save a TA position that will have a meaningful impact on students’ academic futures?” Wong said.

Zachary Yentzer, the director of campus affairs for the Residence Hall Association at ASU, is a supporter of the student fee increase. He said it will help better the student experience and increase school pride.

“The student experience isn’t limited to the classroom,” Yentzer said. “It includes the experience outside of class, such as sporting events and social gatherings.”

Yentzer acknowledged the fact that a university should not put all of its emphasis on athletics, and that the academic aspect of university life is equally important, but he said investing in athletics can lead to better academics.

“Athletics get students in the door,” Yentzer said. “And once they are in then they can explore the academics that a university has to offer.”

Tempe Undergraduate Student Government President Jacob Goulding is personally opposed to the fee increase and said he will cast his vote at the Presidents Council in accordance with the senate’s decision.

“In light of draconian budget cuts, tuition increases, and other fees that will be assessed in the fall, I cannot support the student fee increase at this time,” Goulding said.

At this point, both the Tempe and Downtown senates have passed legislation opposing the student fee increase. The Graduate and Professional Student Association and the Associated Students of ASU Polytechnic have not yet taken a stance on the increase.

The USG West senate is expected to vote to support the increase on Friday.

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