SGA votes to adjust student fees

Erika Ward

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 The Western Illinois University Student Government Association (SGA) was finally able to come to an agreement about the increase in student fees for the incoming 2015 freshmen after weeks of debate.

 Members representing a variety of organizations on campus met in a special committee to propose different fee increases that would be beneficial to the average student.

 “This bill represents a unified student voice and a willingness by the administration to accept student input,” Michael Quigley, Student Member of the Board of Trustees said.  “The committee took the concerns expressed over the past few meetings and met with President Thomas and budget director Matt Bierman to figure out changes everyone could agree on.

 “While this year has definitely been unorthodox, I believe this year’s student have had the most direct input into the fee increases because of the work and debates done by the Student Government Association,” Quigley said.  “I’m happy to propose this new piece of legislation.”

 Student Activity in Fine Arts will now be seeing a $0.15 increase rather than $0.30.  The Talent Grant was originally not going to increase, however the committee is now proposing a $1.05 increase.  The athletics fee was proposed to increase by only $7.05, down from the original $7.65 originally proposed.

 Technology, one of the major concerns for SGA members, will see an increase of $3.30, which is up from the original $1.50 proposed.  Facilities will also increase only $4.95 rather than the original $7.05 increase proposed.

 The legislation was passed unanimously and will be proposed at the Board of Trustees meeting on Friday morning.

 SGA also hosted guest speaker Joseph Rives who is Vice President for Quad Cities and Planning.  Rives proposed a list of colleges to compare Western to and brought the list to the meeting to gain SGA’s endorsement. 

 “What’s happened over the last decade is that we’ve gotten better, as a university,” Rives said.  “We now have higher retention rates, higher graduation rates, more things going on in facilities, and with the nationally ranked News and World Report, we’re a top 10 institution in the Midwest.

 Members voted and were in unanimous agreement to endorse the list.

 A motion was made to appoint Tom Bryson to be the student member of the search committee to appoint a new director of Beau Health Center.  The motion was put to a vote and unanimously passed.

 A bill was also proposed to ask the school to make the Student Code of Conduct more known among the students at the university.

 “This document is something that every student is required to abide by while they are enrolled here,” primary author Calen Edgar said.  “But it is not something that is presently given or sent to every student when they arrive or when they register for class.”

 The proposed bill asks the school to ensure that every student would receive an online copy through student email (Zimbra) and on STARS when registering for classes.

 The bill was put to a vote and was passed unanimously.  

 The next meeting for SGA will be April 7, as next Tuesday at the meeting time is the SGA candidate debate which will allow members to get to know the candidates.  The debate is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.  

 Voting will be available next Wednesday, March 31 at 6 a.m. and continue until Friday, April 3 at 5 p.m.