Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

AN INDEPENDENT STUDENT NEWSPAPER SERVING THE GW COMMUNITY SINCE 1904

The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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A Fee Increase?

Last week I received a question about my opinion of the proposed student fee increase. I want readers to know that I cover the SA as a journalist, an objective, non-bias journalist. It is out of place for me to offer my opinion on issues in this forum.

With that said I will discuss pros and cons of a student fee increase and analysis of the chances of the increase passing out of the senate and being accepted by the student body in a special election this November.

SA President Audai Shakour last year said he would not support a fee increase, but after receiving complaints from student organizations that did not get adequate funding(Pakistani Fundraiser) Shakour proposed a one dollar per credit hour student fee increase and a clause to raise the fee by ten cents every year after the first that it is in place. Shakour and proponents of the increase say more money in the SA will go directly to student organizations and student life; they say organizations will have larger budgets, bigger and better events, and less of a fight over money. Shakour has said the ten cent per year increase is in place to account for inflation and the continually increasing number of student organizations.

Last year SA President Omar Woodard vetoed a referendum that would have asked students to vote on a fee increase. Opponents of the increase then and now question if the SA is ready to take on a doubling of their budget. (SA Debates Doubling Student Fee) Woodard said a 100 percent increase was too dramatic last year but indicated he would think a smaller increase, like 50 cents may be better. Some senators have said they would support an increase but do not support the yearly increase clause. Some SA members I have spoken with say it is a problem of better managing funds now rather than just increasing the amount of money the SA gets to close to one million dollars.

Despite sour tastes that are sometimes still apparent between Shakour’s executive and members of the Coalition for Reform from last April’s election, a somewhat united front in the senate is pushing for a fee increase. Shakour and Sen. Chris (Not Christ- thanks Brandon) Rotella, chair of the rules committee, both are in favor of the increase. Many senators feel they are restricted in the amount of money they are able to give to student organizations and have said they would have much more flexibility with an increased budget. Worry not, however, their will be a hefty debate on the issue Tuesday night.

The regular SA elections every April draw at most ten to 15 percent of the student population to vote. A special election in November would most likely draw similar numbers, or less. Student organizations that want more money may be able to sway a special election in favor of an increase if they get enough of their members out to the polls.

Either way, Tuesday night’s senate meeting should be very interesting. In addition to discussing a student fee increase, the senate will also most likely discuss dramatic changes to the SA constitution’s structure of positions within the executive.

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