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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    $40 union fee vote falls flat

    After students overwhelmingly voted down the proposed student union fee that would have been used to enhance programs and cover growing expenses, the union director is raising prices and cutting service hours next year until a new source of revenue is found.

    In a special election held April 11 and 12, 70 percent of the 2,716 voting students said they did not want a yearly union fee, which would have added $40 to every professional, graduate and undergraduate student’s tuition and generated $1.4 million a year, said Dan Adams, director of the Arizona Student Unions.

    To help pay for increases in product prices and employee-related expenses, Adams said he is cutting service hours in late-night facilities, like Cellar and Games Room, and raising all food and service prices by five percent.

    “”We’re right back where we were. Nothing has been solved or accomplished, and that’s pretty disappointing,”” Adams said.

    Student body President Erin Hertzog said she was wary of the fee because 50 percent would go toward funding building renewal and increasing service hours and eatery options.

    “”Students should not have to bear the brunt of building renewal,”” said Hertzog, a journalism senior. “”If the fee was only going to fund programs for all of the students taxed, I would be more open to the increase.””

    Until a new revenue source is found, prices will continue to increase, and students, especially those involved in clubs, will bear the brunt of the union’s growing struggle to make ends meet, Adams said.

    The Center for Student Involvement and Leadership, which recognizes 541 clubs on campus, sponsors several student programs with the $500,000 provided to them by the union, said CSIL Director Michelle Perez.

    As the union’s expenses continue to grow, Adams said some programs, like Blue Chip and the Social Justice Leadership Center, could be eliminated because the money will no longer be there for that type of funding.

    Adams said there has not yet been any discussion about whether any programs or staff will be cut next year.

    Aside from chopping programs and raising prices, the university can also look toward a mandatory meal plan as a way of generating the necessary funds, said President Peter Likins in an e-mail.

    But if students overwhelmingly say they do not want a meal plan, the likelihood of the regents passing the proposal would be slim, said Ben Graff, a voting student regent for the Arizona Board of Regents.

    Another way the university could help generate money for the unions would be to eliminate the administrative service charge, which charges 6.5 percent to every UA auxiliary.

    Last year the unions paid $1.2 million toward the service charge – $200,000 shy of the $1.4 million that would have been generated with a mandatory fee.

    Dick Roberts, the UA budget director, said even though the administration could get rid of the union’s service charge, that route would be unlikely because it would lead to taking money from other areas on campus.

    “”We use the service charge to fund every part of campus, and if the union didn’t have to pay the fee, we would have to find a way to supplement that $1.2 million,”” Roberts said. “”It’s not as easy of an answer as it sounds.””

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