In May, SF State President Robert A. Corrigan approved a request to increase the student body association fee by almost 22 percent, which was voted upon by the students. Students are now required to pay $51 per semester.
Associated Students Inc. is currently working through its finance committee to draft a revised budget that will take into account the additional funding.
Last year the number of scholarships awarded to students throughout the University, funded by ASI, was cut nearly in half as they suffered from the budget crisis, from 25 awards to 14, while the dollars spent on running the business of ASI stayed nearly the same, at more than $99,000.
This is unconscionable.
The new representatives of the student body must take this opportunity to use their positions and their funds to once again highlight high-achieving students through these scholarships, which at the moment they seem inclined to do.
Currently, ASI plans to add more scholarships and student life events with some of the extra money, which totals about $270,000. We applaud that choice and hope they follow through with that promise.
Additionally, they are implementing a new internship program that will give 10 students a chance to see how student government functions. ASI hopes the experience will encourage the interns to run for office. This is a key moment in the future development of student leaders, a chance for existing officials to train the next generation to put the will of the general student population and fiscal responsibility above all else.
While re-adding these scholarships and the addition of the internships are important steps in the right direction, there are many more that ASI can take to ensure that the funds from these fees are being funneled into programs that are important to students.
Currently, the ASI board of directors is solely responsible for selecting the programs that receive student funding. Why?
There has been talk of opening up the process to student votes, allowing the University community to collectively decide where its funds are spent.
Let’s make this more than talk.
Making students a part of the decision process will promote voices rarely heard in finance meetings and allow students to fund those programs that might be most beneficial to them.
Students deserve the benefits from these programs since more than 60 percent of ASI revenue comes from SF State students, and there are currently many good programs that are funded through these fees, but making students part of the process will allow for more transparency and for a greater return on investment if those funded projects are something that most students feel is a valuable and worthy expense.
If ASI is as truly committed to the students and this community as they pledge to be, this should be a no-brainer.