On their Feb. 2 meeting, ASUSF Senate voted to hold special elections the week of Feb. 18 to potentially restructure all of Senate. “If our ballot items pass, this will be a moment in USF and Senate history,” said VP of Public Relations Raissa Reis.
If students do vote in favor of the restructuring, Senate will downsize from 34 senator positions to 16. Executive President Laureano Figueroa, who initially proposed this restructuring at the end of last semester, explained that some positions will be merged and others will simply be cut. For example, the Vice President of Mission and the Vice President of Sustainability positions will merge under the new title of Vice President of Advocacy. The following representative positions will be entirely removed if the ballot item passes: On-Campus Representatives, Off-Campus Representatives, Students with Disabilities Representatives, and Non-Traditional Age Representatives. Figueroa also stressed that, while Senate currently has two representatives in each non-executive senator position, the new proposal would cut that in half so that there is only one senator representing each department.
This issue requires a special election because students must approve the new structure before senators run for these revised positions in the official Spring elections. “We don’t want to keep this structure simply because it is the structure that has always been in place,” said Figueroa, “If this Senate structure passes, you can expect more efficiency, more accountability, more consistency and more cohesion.”
Also on the special election ballot is an increase in the Student Activity Fee. The Student Activity Fee, which all USF students pay, currently costs $97 per semester and funds student accounts and organizations on campus. The bi-annual fee provides a small salary to executives in these organizations, as well as funding for events and educational travel opportunities. When the proposed increase did not pass last Spring, Senate had to create a budget for all student organizations knowing that they would not have the immediate funds to do so. This caused Senators to dip into reserve funds, which are quickly depleting. The proposed increase would raise the fee $10 per year for three years, beginning in the 2017/2018 academic year; so by the 2019/2020 academic year, the fee would be $127 per semester.
“Our main goal with the Student Activity Fee is to provide opportunities for students to get involved, enjoy on campus events and enhance the student life experience,” said Figueroa.
In order for these two pressing issues to be addressed, students will need to participate in the special elections voting, taking place Feb. 18-25. Log on to www.myusf.usfca.edu/sle/asusf to find the ballot.
Photo courtesy of ASUSF Senate