By Andrea Mendez-Ochoa, Staff Reporter
The student government at CSUDH, Associated Students Inc., wants to throw bigger, better events, increase its support of clubs and athletics, and basically make the experience of being a student Toro better.
And if you’re a student, it wants you to pay for it.
In the March 16-19 elections, students will be asked to vote on whether the mandatory student government fee they pay at the start of each semester should be raised to $185, $50 more than the current fee. In order to fully inform students on why it thinks the fee is reasonable and necessary, the ASI is currently mounting a “My ASI, My fee campaign” to offer transparency behind what the fee will be used for and why it feels it’s time for an increase.
“We are asking the students to vote on it and it is up to them,” ASI Associate Director Michellena Lakey said. “It is for students by students that is why it is ‘My ASI, My Fee.’”
The fees help support the events, programs and services offered by ASI, including Club Fest, the Multi-Cultural Center, athletic scholarships and giveaways held throughout the academic year. According to the “My Asi, My fee” website, an increased fee would, among other things, fully fund the Spring Fling, expand the Halloween Haunt, increase the number of scholarships provided by ASI,
The current fee of $135 has not been raised in some 18 years, according to Lakey. If the fee had been tied to a three percent cost of living index, it would cost $230 today (by comparison, student fees at a sample of CSU’s that The Bulletin checked ranged from $124 at Cal State Long Beach to $238 at Cal State Bakersfield).
“About three or four years, ago ASI looked into raising the fee,” ASI President Christian Jackson said. “At that time, the fee hadn’t been raised in about 15 years, but costs for everything else had.”
Yet, the cost of everything else was going up and Jackson said ASI was in a position where less “of our operating budget was being able to go towards the events that [students] want to see [and request]. So that was when we started looking at the idea of raising the fee to have more flexibility.”
At that time, there was serious consideration to raise the fee to as high as $215, which is $40 more than the current increase proposal of $185. Last semester, ASI solicited thoughts from students who walked into its offices and through tabling events held on the East Walkways.
Additionally, Jackson said, it was discussed at length by various ASI committees and commissions.
After those discussions and student input, Jackson said ASI felt a $50 increase was just enough to make students feel “more comfortable” raising it.
If the measure is approved by a majority of students who vote, it will wind through various committees and processes and then must be signed by President Parham.
That process will probably take about a year and students will see this until spring 2021, according to Jackson.
“Ultimately we want you all to make an informed decision,” he said. “Whether it be yes or no we just like to make sure that you made the decision knowing the pros and the cons because it’s not our ASI decision, it’s the students’ decision at the end of the day.”
For additional information on “My ASI, My Fee” and its fee history, visit http://myfee.asicsudh.com.