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News
The Raucous Caucus: Another new fee? No más!


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Jason Poreda
Opinions Assistant
By Jason Poreda
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, January 23, 2004
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Despite popular belief, and much to this columnists' disappointment, the activity fee recently receiving much attention has been put on the back burner for another week or so.

The Collaboration Board, made up of several groups on campus including representatives from the Residence Hall Association, the Associated Students of the University of Arizona, the University Activities Board and Commuter Student Affairs, is just "researching the possibility of such a fee," Sen. Matt Harris said Wednesday.

He said this as the ASUA Senate made it abundantly clear, by passing a resolution, that ASUA is not sponsoring, supporting, drafting or apparently even thinking of such a fee.

The decision to have no opinion on the activity fee issue seems to be becoming a trend in student government, but that's a column for another day.

In any event, everyone involved with this proposal is waiting for the results of market research to see how big a fee the students are willing to support.

Until then, if you ask anyone from the Collaboration Board or any groups on the board about the potential of the fee, all you'll get is the company line.

That's all well and good - we really don't know the details of the fee yet. Fine; that's understandable.

But let's face it, the opinion around campus about new fees is not exactly hard to decipher.

If you walk around campus and ask students how they feel about all the money they are paying or would have to pay, you'll find very quickly that the student body would vote a solid "no way."

Most students understand that a tuition raise is on the way and, although it may be best for the UA, patience for these raises has grown thin.

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If the $500 dollar tuition raise goes through, as President Peter Likins wants, then adding a new activity fee will just increase the already high amount and further burden the students.
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As a result, this is not the right time to top things off with a new fee like whipped cream and a cherry at Cold Stone.

Any type of new fee, regardless of what it is or how much it's for, is a horrible idea.

If the $500 dollar tuition raise goes through, as President Peter Likins wants, then adding a new activity fee will just increase the already high amount and further burden the students.

If the raise is lower than that, as ASUA President J.P. Benedict alluded to, then the common perception would be that this year's tuition raise is lowered only to make way for the new activity fee.

That is not to mention the fact that we have no idea how much the fee would be; the proposed fee could end up being about $5 or as much as $100.

The Collaboration Board will go with whatever its research says is feasible here at the UA. If the fee ends up at $10, then this "activity fund" would be over $350,000; if it's $30, then it would be well over $1 million.

At $100 dollars, we are talking about an amount that would make Donald Trump raise an eyebrow. Sure, it would be nice to see more concerts on campus and more programs for students to go to, but that's a lot of money for entertainment when most students are pinching pennies just to pay for classes, pencils and, more importantly, food.

Come to think of it, students might be more in favor of adding the fee on top of the $500 increase, throwing their hands into the air in helpless abandon and thinking, "Well, it's already so much; what's a little more?" The feeling of being picked on is common among us students, but this time we all have an out.

The final decisions on this fee are in the hands of the students themselves. If the Collaboration Board decides that a new fee is the way to go, and they shouldn't, then the students will have the final say.

We will be able to cast aside this notion, either in a special election or when we decide who will be at the helm of ASUA's ship next year.

Let's hope the representatives on the Collaboration Board will make a decision that is at least consistent, if nothing else.

Let's hope they don't tell students, "It's going to be OK," while reaching down to steal their wallets at the same time.

Jason Poreda is a poor college student who needs money to buy groceries. He is a political science and communication senior and can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.



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