Following a contentious debate that lasted over two hours, the Tempe Undergraduate Student Government passed a bill to increase the Student Health and Wellness Fee by $15 a semester with a vote of 11-9. Proponents of the measure felt the increase was necessary to increase access to campus resources, while opponents said the process was rushed and that there was a lack of student input.
The senators debated whether or not this bill's fate should be in the hands of USG given a lack of student input. Several senators tried to table the bill as they felt there wasn't enough information to make a decision.
College of Integrative Sciences and Arts Senator Maxim Quint said he voted against the bill because he needed to see more students engaging in debate concerning the fee increase.
"In order to have the effects seen of the bill, we have to have a proper amount of student outreach and I just haven't seen that from the Tempe campus yet," Quint said.
Last week, there was an open forum that gave students a chance to seek clarification about the proposed fee increase — but no students outside of USG attended. USG leadership also conducted a survey concerning the health fee, though 32 students responded.
Regardless of the lack of input, senators who voted in favor said the fee increase was necessary because it would create equal access to health and wellness resources among all ASU students.
W.P. Carey Senator Kaycee Hightower said she voted in favor of the bill because it would provide all students on each campus with health resources.
"The health fee should not have to be raised to increase the playing field but at this point that's where we've come to," Hightower said. "So I think that's my biggest reason why is really me thinking of our other campuses and the students here that go back and forth."
For the fee increase to be finalized, each campus must now go through the same process. A majority of the undergraduate and graduate student governments must pass the measure in order for it to take effect.
Other campuses, and the Graduate and Professional Student Association, are expected to vote February 15 and 16.
It is unknown when the proposed fee increase will take effect if passed.
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