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By Erin McCusker
Arizona Daily Wildcat
November 18, 1997

Student lobbying group stands against Union fee

A statewide student lobbying group yesterday objected to the proposed Student Union renovation fee and took a stance against any new mandatory campuswide fees in the future.

UA students will vote today and tomorrow on whether to enact the proposed $40 a semester fee to help fund $31.5 million of the $70 million in proposed Memorial Student Union renovations.

The Arizona Students' Association Board of Directors passed a resolution to take the stance because student fees create education cost differences among the state's three universities.

"Such fees are an inferior way to raise tuition," said Christine Thompson, Arizona Students' Association executive director.

She added the mandatory fees raise tuition because the they do not include a financial aid set-aside like tuition dollars.

Rather, the money comes directly from students' pockets, Thompson said.

"These fees should be used in rare and exceptional circumstances and always be approved by a student referendum," she added.

Associated Students President Gilbert Davidson, who sits on the ASA board and voted against the resolution last week, said he was "uncomfortable" with the way it was worded.

"They're trying to stop UA from running the referendum and they don't have the place to make that decision," Davidson said.

Associated Students ASA Director Ryan Anderson said he believed the resolution will not have an effect on the vote today and Wednesday.

"The language of the resolution is too broad," Anderson said. "I'm glad on a state level, ASA is taking an interest in the UA, but I think (the resolution) is weak," he added.

ASA board members first approved the resolution Nov. 10. The nine members, three from each university, revoted Monday. Two of the three ASUA representatives voted against the resolution.

Thompson said to endorse a fee, ASA would need proof that all other options have been discussed and exhausted before the fee is proposed.

"We need to be shown that the funding is needed for the proposed project and that students are willing to pay for that project through a fee," Thompson said.

All new fees or changes in fees should be sufficiently discussed and approved by the Arizona Board of Regents, Thompson said.

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