What Last Year’s Approved Spring Ballot Initiatives Mean for This Year
For freshmen and transfer students, new faculty members, and all others who are unfamiliar with ASUSF Senate’s legislative processes: every spring, Senate creates a ballot measure that contains referendums, which are drawn up by senators throughout the school year, for students to vote on. Initiatives that pass are then sent on to the Board of Trustees for final approval. These referendums have the ability to significantly impact many aspects of campus life for all members of the USF community.
Senate placed four referendums on the spring 2019 ballot. These included: the addition of a new Student Disability Services (SDS) shuttle, the incorporation of “at-large” Senate representatives, a remodel of the UC 4th floor, and an increase of the student transportation fee. Only 13% of undergraduate students voted — these were the results:
The measure for a new SDS shuttle passed with 90% approval. With the added service of the second shuttle, students in need of transportation around campus will not have to rely on a single van to pick them up, as the average wait time for an SDS shuttle in 2018-19 was 30 minutes. ASUSF Senate President Hector Bustos said that the shuttle will continue to be funded throughout this school year by the student activity fee.
The “at-large” representative referendum passed with 87% approval. This new position will allow the elected representative to pick to represent a community that they feel is underrepresented at USF and in established ASUSF Senate positions. (For those interested, the “at-large” representative position is still open.)
The initiative for a remodel of the University Center fourth floor, where USF’s Chartered Student Organizations are based, passed with 64% approval, despite opposition from numerous student orgs. Renovations are currently in their early phases.
“We are still in the process of brainstorming ideas on how we can best renovate this space for organizations and the student body,” Bustos said. “As of now, we have just added lockers for organizations to store their materials in.”
The most controversial referendum last year aimed to increase the student transportation fee from $145 to $204 in order to extend students’ typical Muni passes, which provide unlimited rides from August to May, to provide year-round access (i.e. a Muni pass for summer break). However, the referendum failed to pass with 54% disapproval.
“After the raise in tuition, students did not want hikes in any of the fees they were already paying,” Bustos said. “And for this reason, this referendum did not pass.”
This School Year
As for this year, Bustos wants to “ensure that students are included in all conversations regarding decisions that affect students.”
“I think it is ridiculous that administration is making decisions for students and not gathering enough feedback about these decisions and how they will ultimately impact students in the future,” he said.
Bustos also wants Senate to be “a more visible and transparent organization” that allows “students to feel comfortable coming to Senate and voicing any and all of their concerns.”
“Students must be a part of these conversations — period.”Hector Bustos
There are four Senate positions still available: the Transfer Student Representative, International Student Representative, School of Management Representative, and At-Large Student Representative.
ASUSF Senate meets on Wednesdays from 5-7 p.m. For more information about applying for positions and other ways to get involved, visit their page on myUSF.