Mandatory student activity fee to face March student body vote

The student activity fee is currently a mandatory $97 charge each semester. In a few weeks, the student body will be given the opportunity to vote on whether or not to make this fee voluntary or not.

On March 11 and 12, students will receive an email about voting, which will take them to a page on LakerLife allowing them to vote. The vote for the activity fee will coencide with the vote for president and vice president of SA.

The fee is voted on by the student body every two years. Currently, there is a $250 limit on the amount Student Associations in the SUNY system can charge students.

According to Oswego State SA Vice President Francisco Perez, the “last time the vote was 59 percent to 41 percent.” In order to avoid a close vote like that, Perez said SA is getting the word out through the use of posters and SA senators are talking to their constituents about the benefits of the fee.

“We’re getting them everywhere so people know what is going on,” Perez said.

The activity fees for the 2013-2014 academic year added up to roughly $1.4 million dollars, which is then distributed to SA’s 180 organizations.

“Every year [the $1.4 million] gets dispersed to all of the clubs, so people who are in clubs who have budgets, their money comes from this fee,” Perez said. The vice president added that not all of the clubs have budgets and some are inactive.

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“SA pays for a lot of contracts that aren’t so uniform,” Perez said.

These are services offered like Campus Recreation, services in The Point, Student Association Volunteer Ambulances Corps and Student Association Programming Board are funded through the $97 fee. A contract with CENTRO is also in existence, paid through the fee, which allows students to take the Blue Route and buses in the city of Oswego and to Syracuse on the weekends for free.

WTOP-10, the student-run television station is a recipient of some of this fee. General Manager of the station, Matt Bishop, said that he thinks the fee should be higher to allow smaller clubs to have access to the funds that larger clubs receive, but also mentioned its importance.

“If you don’t pass it, we cannot be here,” Bishop said. “The $97 fee is well worth what I’m taking away from being at WTOP.”

“If it were to become voluntary, students would still have the fee when they come but then they would have to appeal it,” Perez said.

He said that the fee would not be as simple to waive as some other voluntary fees.

SA is currently embarking on the process to develop a budget for next year. Perez said that the numbers they use to set this budget are based on having the mandatory $97 per student. Without the certainty of the funds, SA would be put in a tight spot.

“[The SA fee is] super important. Once it were to become voluntary, it would cause uncertainty. The clubs can’t count on anything at that point,” Perez said.

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