The referendum, which will be on the spring ballot along with the student body president and vice president election, would increase the Student Organization Fee by $3.10 per student, doubling the current fee of $3.10. The fee applies to students taking seven or more credits per semester.
According to the referendum, during the 2011-2012 academic school year over $215,000 was requested by 45 registered student organizations. However, only $71,000 was available to be allocated.
Part of MSU’s Strategic Plan is to increase the number of students participating in registered student organizations by 2019.
Before passing the measure, the senate debated the merits of putting the referendum on the ballot.
Senator Cara Thuringer of the College of Arts & Architecture noted the necessity of the fee increase to support student organizations. “We’re going to run out of money again,” she said. “[Without this increase], we’re going to keep running out of money.”
Senator Josh Stevens of the College of Business opposed the referendum, retorting that ASMSU is “too liberal with giving these groups money.” “It’s irresponsible of [the senate] to take students’ time to vote on this,” he said. “To make ASMSU’s image brighter we have to show that we are financially responsible — not always ask for more money when we run out.”
According to At-Large Senator John Stiles, “The increase of the fee is not worth what [the students] get out of it….I haven’t seen any students supporting this.”
Senator Katie Reed of the College of Nursing noted, “[Referendums] like this are why we’re here as a senate.”
Senators Stiles, Stevens and Charles French of the College of Engineering advocated for students taking the initiative to put the referendum on the ballot via student petition. One percent of the student body would need to sign a petition in order for it to be placed on the ballot.
The measure to place the referendum on the ballot was passed 10-4, with two abstentions.
The referendum vote and presidential election will take place March 5-6.