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Students: Fee vote premature

By Natasha Bhuyan
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, April 1, 2004
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Although student leaders are confident that five days is enough time to educate students about the $30 per year activity fee, students on campus say the referendum date is too soon.

"It's a very short period of time," said Judy Kwan, a materials science and engineering junior. "It's unreasonable."

Amberly Atene, a psychology junior, said she is not familiar with the fee, and does not plan to vote in next week's election.

A $15 fee would be charged at the beginning of each semester, and could be refunded to any student who didn't feel benefited by the programming.

"They need to give it a few weeks," said Aisling Force, a fine arts junior.

J.P. Benedict, student body president, said the early vote is necessary in order to put the fee on the agenda for the Arizona Board of Regents meeting on April 29.

Benedict said the fee idea has been circulating for years but is always pushed back by student leaders who believe it is not ready.

Low Down

Student Activity Fee voting begins Monday and runs through Wednesday.

To vote, visit:

"I don't like that attitude," he said.

The Collaboration Board plans to market the fee in the next two days by talking with club leaders, sending out e-mails and having a booth on the Mall.

"I almost guarantee that enough people will vote," said Associated Students of the University of Arizona Sen. Nick Bajema.

Bajema and other Collaboration Board members said they believe by targeting student leaders on campus, a trickle-down effect will educate enough students about the fee.

But Aaron Klassen, a molecular and cellular biology senior, said there has been an "absolute lack of advertising to the general student population," and a two-day informational campaign will be "useless."

"They're not going to get out to enough of the students where the vote would be meaningful," he said.

Those behind the activity fee proposal said they have reached out to students over the semester, surveying students and holding a forum that fewer than a dozen students attended.

According to a campus survey conducted by FMR Associates earlier this semester, 84 percent of students said they would possibly or definitely support a $25 fee.

Heather Woodland, a music freshman, said she is concerned that not enough students will vote for the fee because they are not sure what is it about.

Benedict argued that if students are curious about the fee, they are welcome to talk to him about it.

"I haven't seen J.P. on campus since he campaigned to be president," said Aldrich Sy, a pre-physiological sciences sophomore.

Sy also said he doesn't think the Student Activity Fee Committee will be responsible enough to handle the more than $1 million estimated to be generated from the fee.

"There's not enough time to think about it, but it's important to vote on because it involves paying money," said Michael Fry, a business administration senior.

Mehul Desai, an economics junior, said he is not ready to vote and thinks the fee would be a "waste of money."

"I have been on campus for three years, and I have not seen them (student leaders) do anything," he said.

Klassen said he is doubtful popular bands will even come to the UA because, along with money, they look for "excitement on campus," which is something uninformed voters lack.

Greg Billings, the president of the University Activities Board and a member of the Collaboration Board, said UAB has the infrastructure and contacts in place to bring big-name artists to campus.

Student s also said they were concerned about the activity fee coming at a time of dramatic tuition increases.

"I'm against it (the activity fee)," said Mary Plante, a theatre arts sophomore. "They just raised tuition and should try to work with that first."

Brianna Maxwell, a pre-physiological sciences freshman, said she is "poor" and can't afford $15 in addition to other student fees already in place.

Bajema said he hopes the fact that the fee will come directly from students' pocketbooks will send them to the polls.

"It is a decent amount of money attached to students' tuition," Bajema agreed. "That is a good enough reason to get students to vote."

To learn more about the activity fee and read the bylaws, students can visit

- Dana Crudo contributed to this report.

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