As ASUSF Senate’s Special Election comes to a close at the end of this week, the Foghorn staff would like to reflect on the two ballot items and their potential outcomes. These urgent issues prompted this irregular election: Executive President Larry Figueroa’s newly proposed membership structure, and the growing need for an increase in the Student Activity Fee.
The Foghorn supports Senate’s efforts to maximize their productivity by restructuring their various elected positions. By cutting the number of Senators from 34 to 16, we expect to see an increase in Senate’s efficiency. If the ballot item passes, a smaller Senate could allow for a more streamlined and organized body. We hope that Senate will be able to refocus their mission and build an even stronger presence on campus that reflects the needs of their constituency as accurately as possible.
An increased Student Activity Fee can be beneficial to our student body for several reasons. The Student Activity Fee is what funds the wages of those in executive positions in student organizations. Considering the increase in San Francisco’s minimum wage within the last year, an increase in the Student Activity Fee would help the school keep up with the rising minimum wage. The Student Activity Fee also covers many of the expenses involved with events from campus organizations. If the fee were to go up, we would love to see more events from campus organizations (for example, CAB Late Nights).
We advocate the Student Activity Fee increase under the assumption that the current system of funding stays in place. However, we question if this is the best way to fund the wages of student executives, and would want to put forward the idea that the wages should come from a more stable source within the University. That way, the Student Activity Fee can be used solely on improving student activities and on-campus events. With USF’s student body growing every year, this should be something to consider, as the impact of that decision will affect more students.
It is also important to note that many of the students voting for the Student Activity Fee increase will not experience those new charges directly. If enough students vote in favor for it, the jump will not take place until Fall of 2017, meaning that it will only affect current academic freshmen and sophomores. And because the Student Activity Fee would rise slowly over time, this year’s sophomores will only experience a $10 increase in their senior year, while current freshmen will experience that increase, and then an additional $10 increase the following year. We believe it to be unfair for juniors and seniors to take place in this vote, as they will be unaffected by it.
However, we also understand that, in order for the elections to be valid, 1600 students must vote, as an election of this nature requires at least 20% of the student body to participate. We highly encourage freshmen and sophomores to participate in this election, particularly because they will be most directly affected by the results.
As the staff members of the campus newspaper, we recognize and appreciate Senate’s efforts to better connect and engage with their constituents. But we would also like to raise the issue that maybe the current system of funding for student activities could be restructured from what it currently is.