ASuop Votes to Increase Student Fee

PC: ASuop

For the first time in over a decade, the ASuop student activity fee is increasing for students here at Pacific.

Since 2006, students have paid $200 a year to help fund student clubs and organizations, ASuop-sponsored events, and student workers, among other expenses. But on March 5, the ASuop Senate voted unanimously to approve a $75 increase in the fee, bringing the total to $275 per student, per year.

ASuop President Grant Kirkpatrick ‘19 introduced the plan to the Senate and championed it during the March 5 student body meeting. After receiving the Senate’s approval, Kirkpatrick secured approval from Vice President for Business and Finance Ken Mullen. The fee increase will need to be officially approved by the Board of Regents in April before it can go into effect starting next semester.

“Since my time as a Senator, I realized that we had been operating on a system that was very old. It had been a very long time since we addressed our financial situation,” Kirkpatrick told The Pacifican.

Kirkpatrick felt that the fee increase was overdue, when taking into account increases in inflation, minimum wage, and other factors over the years.

“I was noticing the cost of goods increasing, and I was noticing that we were going to have to plan to draw back some things next year without the fee increase, because we simply weren’t going to have the money,” Kirkpatrick said.

“The minimum wage is set to go up to $15 per hour by 2022, then continue to increase annually as it is tied to [the Consumer Price Index],” He said. “So we are looking at huge costs, because a big portion of our expense is student workers. We calculated that our current team, alone, is going to cost an additional $50,000 next year, and we are currently understaffed in my opinion.”

Kirkpatrick added that there were other expenses that ASuop has been deferring for quite some time, such as a failing service cart for ASuop Arts and Entertainment and outdated technology for the graphic design team. ASuop will also be switching from OrgSync to a new student organization software called Presence, which will cost around $11,000.

ASuop President Grant Kirkpatrick, pictured with Vice President Caroline Styc, spearheaded the effort to increase the student activity fee. PC: Prajakta Prasana.

ASuop Treasury Secretary Alayna Myrick ‘19 noted that the fee increase would also serve to improve the quantity and quality of events sponsored by ASuop Arts and Entertainment.

“We want to make what we have bigger and better. We want to draw more students so we can have greater student life on campus,” Myrick said. “We can create more events and engage the Pacific community at more times during the year [than we are able to right now].”

As a point of comparison, Loyola Marymount University, a private school with a cost of attendance comparable to Pacific, currently has a $200 per year student activity fee. The University of San Francisco, also comparable in cost of attendance, is currently on track to increase its student activity fee to $242 per year by 2019. Both universities have around 3,000 more students than Pacific.

Ashlyn Murphy ‘21 told The Pacifican that she could see both negatives and positives with the decision.

“I feel like not everyone is going to want to participate in the things that ASuop does. And if you never participate, why would you want to pay for it?” Murphy said. “I think it would be good if they could attract more people, though; maybe prospective students will see some of the cool things happening and want to go to Pacific.”

Cecilia Zaragoza ‘20 saw the move in a positive light and is willing to see what ASuop can do to improve student life with the additional funds.

“I feel that at first it might seem a bit daunting to students, but I think it would be good to do something new. If there hasn’t been a fee increase in ten years, maybe this could be a positive development for the campus,” Zaragoza said. She also floated the idea of giving the fee increase a sort of trial run.

“Maybe starting out with just a few years of this increase would be a good idea, just to test it out… If nothing is changing [for students] and it doesn’t really prove beneficial, then we could go back to how it was before.”

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