On Monday the student senate will most likely pass a $75 fee for students each semester.
Don’t be surprised. SGA has held numerous forums that all students were invited to. Wait, you didn’t get those emails? Well, that’s because there weren’t any.
The act of sending out an email may be one of the easiest things to do on a computer. SGA has the ability to send out emails to all students, as documented by a March 21 email sent out to students asking for applicants for SGA scholarships.
Furthermore, the legislation hasn’t been made publically available online for students to review. Unless you went to the meetings that you weren’t notified about, chances are you don’t know why SGA is proposing this fee.
There’s a certain air of arrogance in senate. The Griffon News has heard comparisons of this fee to federal taxes, where SGA is equating their power to that of the U.S. congress. Additionally, the reason SGA refuses to let students vote on this fee is because they don’t think the students will do the right thing.
These are excuses. A $75 fee is the single most powerful thing SGA has done in years. Their own fee is only $50 per semester for a full time student. As a government official, you can see the appeal to wanting to push this through without the students’ input.
Besides failing to inform, educate and convince students that they believe there is a need for the fee, they have also field to account for all the facts. Next year’s state appropriations are not set in stone. As a matter of fact, legislators are currently working to get the money back to the university’s in their own budget proposal.
SGA’s plan doesn’t have that contingency. Senate could very well pass the fee, then the state legislature and Gov. Nixon could restore funding to the universities, and there would no longer be a need for this fee and students would be paying an extra $75 regardless.
This isn’t about a need for the fee. This isn’t even about Western’s dwindling funding. This is about SGA squelching your voice and your vote. Circumventing the students on such an important issue says that SGA doesn’t care what you have to say or think, that they know what’s best for you and you don’t.
There is hope though. Fortunately, the SGA constitution allows you to take control back. A petition by 10% of the student body (roughly 620 signatures) would force SGA to put the legislation on a ballot. The Griffon News will not take a stance for or against the legislation, but we are taking a stance for your right to be heard.
If the petition is successful, SGA officials claim that there won’t be enough time to set up a special ballot. Make the time. If SGA had planned to let the students vote on the fee from the the beginning, this wouldn’t be an issue.
For more information on the petition, students should contact Barry Hersh (email@example.com). Also, attending the Monday night meeting would force SGA to realize that students want an entire student body vote.