USG pushes for student activity fee to be increased

Benjamin Joe, Online Editor

United Students Government Treasurer Latia Ebanks told senators of her intention to raise the student activity fee from $75 to $100 in the spring semester at the first USG meeting on Aug. 30 and again on Sept. 6.

On Sept. 8, she announced it to all of the treasurers of USG at a mandatory meeting. She asked that the treasurers of the various clubs and organizations spread the word to their peers.

The announcement was especially important because this spring, a referendum to keep the student activity fee at all, is going to a vote for all students of SUNY Buffalo State.

“Buffalo State is the only SUNY school that pays less than $100 for their student activity fee,” Ebanks said. “We’ve been making the most of what we have, but in the long run, if we had more money, look how much else we could do.”

USG President Terron Grant said that he personally supported Ebanks and the initiative, but was waiting to announce it to the student body.

“As soon as we have a formal statement, we will definitely send it to you guys [The Record],” Grant said at the mandatory treasurer’s meeting on Thursday.

Not everyone supports the push, though.

Molly Taylor, a Buffalo State senior, frowned at the suggestion that the fee would be raised.

“It really bugs me,” Taylor said, “because I’m never a part of what that [the student activity fee] is going toward.”

That sentiment was echoed by many students, but not all.

“We’re not a part of the student activity fee,” said John Corrigan, a member of a Christian group on campus. “It’s something we don’t see, but I think it’s awesome that there are groups that are receiving the USG money.”

“Enrollment has been going down each year,” Ebanks said. “They’re trying to bring more students in, but more students are dropping out. So it’s not really falling as even as they planned. With that being said, when we project that this amount of students are coming in and a certain amount doesn’t come in, or a certain amount drops out, we fall short.

“Each year it’s getting worse and worse. Right now, as we speak, there are students that are leaving. President Terron [Grant] just got out of a meeting, and what he told me is that enrollment is lower than we thought and right now I have to make changes to the budget.”

Ebanks ticked off what USG and the mandatory student activity fee funds entail.

“Day care, dental clinic, game room, USG business staff, organizations…” she said.

“What I’m concerned about,” she said, “is at least saying ‘Yes’ to the mandatory student activity fee. Say the increase doesn’t go through, but completely losing USG and the mandatory student activity fee? Terrible for Buffalo State and Buffalo [State] students.”

To this effect, Ebanks is planning “Black Out Days” with other senators, where all the services that USG funds are cut out of the student experience for one day each month in the upcoming semesters.

“Money is not worth as much as it was before,” said Ebanks, speaking about the need for an increase in the mandatory student activity fee. “25 cents isn’t 25 cents anymore. It’s a dollar, and the mandatory student activity fee hasn’t been raised in 25 years.”

Whatever one’s views, the time to act on them is coming soon.

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