Associated Students, its affiliates and 12 other campus organizations are asking each student this fall for over $100 more per quarter in exchange for what they say will be increased services and benefits.
A.S. and other student services departments will run the Students’ Initiative election two weeks from now, Oct. 23 to Oct. 26, on GOLD, assuming they can collect the 2,012 undergraduate student signatures necessary to put it on the ballot. If passed, the bundled package of lock-in fee increases would raise students’ annual campus-based fees from $868.92 to about $1,200.
A 25 percent surcharge will be added to the fee as a means of paying for the financial aid of qualified students.
“This is an urgent campaign and it will have instant impact,” said Bill Shiebler, A.S. external vice president of statewide affairs. “It will have impact for years to come.”
According to the A.S. Legal Code, a simple majority of students ( 50 percent plus one ( need to vote yes on the initiative in order for it to pass. The election results will only be valid if 20 percent of the student body votes.
“We’ve talked to enough students already to make this pass,” Shiebler said.
Supporters say the fee increase will benefit programs run by such organizations as Student Health, Recreational Sports, the UCen Governance Board, Campus Learning Assistance Services and A.S. According to supporters, the departments participating in the campaign are in dire need of more funding.
Currently, UCSB undergraduate students pay the second highest amount of campus-based fees in the UC system ( second only to UC Davis, whose students pay $1,442 per year. However, Shiebler said the returns from the increase would outweigh the costs.
Approximately 17 of the 29 organizations involved with the initiative are associated with A.S., including the Community Affairs Board, Program Board, Isla Vista Tenants Union and the Environmental Affairs Board. Like the rest of the participating groups, these A.S. entities will receive their own share of the $100.
Representatives from all 29 organizations participating in the fee increase met in the MultiCultural Center Theater yesterday afternoon. Each group pledged its support for the initiative, despite the dollars and cents that had to be cut from the roughly $135 total the organizations had originally requested.
If passed, students will reevaluate each group participating in the Students’ Initiative by voting every two years to reaffirm their individual fee, Shiebler said. Sixty percent of students will have to vote no on the fee during that time in order to remove it from the list.
According to the initiative’s petition, participating organizations will have a 5-year moratorium on fee increase requests. Beginning in 2012, a Cost of Living Allowance for inflation will be added to the fee, calculated every five years based on a five-year average.
“It’s set up so the groups are extremely accountable to each other,” A.S. President Jared Goldschen said.
At the meeting, Shiebler said the groups’ goal is to get 2,300 signatures supporting the Students’ Initiative by this Wednesday. The groups will be campaigning for the initiative with pink flyers, pins and posters.
Shiebler said Students’ Initiative representatives will be collecting pledge cards next week from students who plan to vote yes on the initiative. On the day of the election, they will call the students who turned in pledge cards to remind them to vote yes on GOLD.
Of the organizations, A.S. is slated to receive the largest fee increase, totaling an extra $30 per student per quarter. A.S., including the Legislative Council and Finance Board, currently receive $9.10 per student per quarter, a fee that has not been raised since 1974.
Recreational Sports will receive the second highest amount of money with $11 per quarter per student. Students already pay a quarterly lock-in fee of $7 to the organization. The Rec Sports Dept. organizes the Intramural Sports teams on campus. Intramurals are receiving $2.50 through the initiative, on top of the $2.50 it already receives.
Paul Lee, assistant director of Rec Sports, said at the meeting that it shouldn’t be the students’ responsibility to pay to get campus organizations back to where they should be finance-wise.
“This money doesn’t even come near what we need,” Lee said. “We need to remind students that the University has failed us.”
Student Health will receive $9 per quarter per student as part of the initiative. It already receives a total of $19 per student per quarter, $12 of which was reaffirmed during the Spring 2005 election through the A.S. Program fee, and $7 of which comes from a separate lock-in fee.
Both CLAS and the UCen Governance Board will receive $6 per student per quarter. CLAS already receives $6 per student, while the Governance Board, which sets policy for the UCen, receives $9.
A.S. Program Board will receive $4.50 per student per quarter from the initiative, while the A.S. Bike Shop will receive $4 per student per quarter.
All other organizations involved in the initiative will receive $3.00 or less from the fee increase. Fourteen of these organizations are affiliated with A.S. The other organizations not affiliated with A.S. are Arts & Lectures, the Communications Association, the Disabled Students Program, the Events Center, the MCC, the Office of Student Life and the Orfalea Family Children’s Center.
De Acker, director of the Women’s Center and advisor for the Child Care Grant committee, said she was approached to be a part of the Students’ Initiative but decided the Women’s Center did not need an increase.
“The Women’s Center just got a lock-in fee passed over a year ago so we’re good,” Acker said.
She said she was surprised to see a Child Care Grant fee increase of $.25 on the initiative because she said the group does not have a problem with funding. The Child Care Grant is a fund that gives money to student parents to pay for childcare during the quarter. The grant receives $.25 through lock-in fees reaffirmed in Spring 2004.
“I’ve never known us to run out as long as we’ve had the lock-in for five to seven years,” Acker said.
-Valerie Tidwell contributed to this article.