USG Tempe votes to recommend $5 increase in student programming fee

Undergraduate Student Government Tempe voted unanimously Tuesday to recommend a $5 increase in the student programming fee, raising it from $25 to $30 a semester. 

The increase first came into question last meeting, when it was tabled so senators could conduct additional outreach over break.

The fee provides a significant amount of funding for student clubs and organizations, programming such as the Fall Welcome Concert, USG's lobbying at the Capitol, the childcare subsidy program and student travel funding. The increase would net an additional $600,000. 

The overwhelming majority of the senate voiced their constituents' support for the increase, especially from members of sports clubs, who have repeatedly shown up at meetings to describe the lack of funding in their organizations. 

"(Sports clubs) do need the funding, and that money can change them so much," said Herberger senator Katherine Del Rosario.

The potential for running out of appropriations money with a growing campus was another frequent point of conversation. 

"There is going to be a demand that far exceeds supply of appropriations funding," appropriations committee co-chair and Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering senator Alex Arena said. 

Senators also mentioned the support of the Black African Coalition at ASU and the Barrett College Council.

USG Tempe President Isaac Miller had voiced his support for the fee increase since it first came under review, and did not waver on Tuesday. 

"Both big groups (like the Programming and Activities Board) ... as well as individuals will benefit," Miller said. 

However, some in attendance did voice their opposition to the fee increase. 

"By increasing the fee, we're increasing the price of a college degree," said engineering freshman Kyle Cloud. 

He said he feels USG does not spend its money efficiently enough to warrant more funding, and that the fee increase would prioritize student groups over individual student needs. 

However, this was not enough to alter the vote, and Miller now has the senate behind him in recommending the fee during approaching Council of Presidents proceedings. 

The bill passed with an amendment to stress USG Tempe's desire to reduce wasteful spending. 

The senate also passed a bill amending the bylaws to make some minor changes to position titles and responsibilities, among other semantic alterations, including a bill to appropriate an extra $4000 to the Muslim Students' Association for Islam Awareness Week, and a bill to appropriate an extra $800 to the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College Council.

"(This bill) will show the Muslim students on this campus that they are supported," Miller said. 

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