As members of a political science senior seminar on democracy in education, we believe students should have a say in new fee approval.
A proposal for a new fee increase to bring big events, student programs and concerts to campus was presented to the Undergraduate Student Government and will likely be brought up at the December Board of Trustees meeting.
However, the student voice is the least represented.
USG has a minimal amount of student representatives allowed at BOT meetings. Additionally, there is a conflict of interest with their approval of the new fee.
If this new fee is approved, USG will receive more money. They’re in favor of this passage not on the students’ behalf, but for themselves.
The new so-called “Student Services Building” is the only Illinois public university office building being funded by students.
According to its charter, the BOT is allowed to raise fees on “student facilities such as student union buildings, field houses or stadia or other recreational facilities.” It seems the combination of the Illinois Truth in Tuition law and the lack of state funding has caused SIU to force its students to foot the bill for its new projects.
By putting the word “student” in the new building’s name, the BOT justifies having students pay for a building that many will not be able to use before graduation.
We are pushing for democracy in new student fees. These fees directly affect the student’s financial and educational situations, and we should have more of a voice beyond USG.
Greater democracy with student fees will increase students’ civic spirit and increase student awareness and fee allocation awarness as well as university pride.
While USG executive board members refused to respond to our messages, Student Trustee Jesse Cler agreed to meet on the issue. His main concern was whether students will automatically vote down any fee placed in front of them.
However, many universities have student-led fee initiatives, including U of I and our university’s own green fee.
If students truly want more events on campus, they will vote in favor of the increase to the Student Activity Fee.
To support the cause, sign the petition for democracy in student fees by going to http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/siufees.
Our goal is to present 1,000 signatures at the December Board of Trustees meeting.
senior from West