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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    70% vote down union proposal

    union fee

    Students overwhelmingly voted down the proposed student union fee that would have tacked up to $40 per year onto every student’s tuition.

    Out of the 2,716 students who voted in a special election held Tuesday and yesterday, 70.3 percent said they did not support a phased-in fee that would have raised $1.4 million to fund additional programs, enhance union services and help pay for building renewal projects.

    Because the fee was shot down, the unions will have to save money next year by cutting service hours in late-night facilities, like Cellar and Games Room, and increasing all product and service prices by 5 percent, said Dan Adams, Arizona Student Unions director.

    “”And there will be more price increases in the future without another source of revenue,”” Adams said. “”The problem isn’t solved, and this puts us right back where we were before.””

    Though students are generally against paying additional fees, eventually they will fund the union’s needs in some way – whether through a mandatory meal plan or continual price increases, Adams said.

    “”The reality is that students on this campus are going to vote down any fee,”” Adams said. “”It’s naive to believe there aren’t costs associated with everything, really, that’s a short-sided perspective.””

    While a fee may be necessary in future years, the proposed fee would not have benefited every student equally, though the unions expected everyone to pay the same amount, said Paul Thorn, president-elect of the Graduate and Professional Student Council.

    “”A small sliver of students would have been well-served by the fee, and graduate students certainly would not have benefited equally,”” said Thorn, a philosophy doctoral student.

    Thirty-eight percent of the voters were graduate students, while 7 percent were professional students and 55 percent were undergraduates.

    Though the total votes represent only 7 percent of the students who would have been affected, student leaders said they were surprised because they were expecting a smaller turnout.

    “”We were nervous at first to even hold a special election because it’s hard to get people to vote,”” said Associated Students of the University of Arizona Sen. Patrick Cook. “”I can’t believe we had such a good turnout.””

    Compared to the 2,392 students who voted in the Student Recreation Center referendum held in November, Sen. Rhonda Tubbs said she was pleased almost 400 more students shared their voice in the union fee election.

    “”We’re constantly working against student apathy,”” said Tubbs, a business administration and finance senior. “”It’s hard to convince people their vote does matter, and I think this turnout was awesome and reflects a comparative part of the student body.””

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