At a special senate meeting Monday, Jan. 29, the Associated Students of Portland State University approved the Student Fee Committee’s 2019 budget proposal with 15 ‘yes,’ 2 ‘abstain’ and 2 ‘no.’ After 22 days of committee meetings and senate discussion, the proposal will now be sent to PSU President Rahmat Shoureshi.
As reported last week, the proposal calls for the termination of the prorated Student Incidental Fee structure. All students taking eight or more credits would pay a flat fee of $223 per quarter. For students right at the eight credit level, this would mean a $60 increase on their bill per term.
The fee increase comes in response to the rising cost of maintaining fee-funded student resources, including the minimum wage increase, cost of living adjustments and program expansion.
ASPSU President Brent Finkbeiner said he surveyed students in his human resources class prior to Monday’s final deliberations. Finkbeiner said his peers did not feel too optimistic about the SFC’s proposed restructuring.
“About three quarters of the class suggested they did not want the prorated structure to go away,” Finkbeiner said. “The majority of the class said…if they pay more, they would like to know they are getting more.”
However, Some ASPSU representatives argued a unified decision was necessary in order for students to have their say in their total expenses.
“If the senate does not concur with what the SFC has proposed, what’s going to happen is that two separate proposals are going to be sent to the president,” said Judicial Board Chief Justice Josh Friedlein. “What happens then is all the power is taken out of the students’ hands because [Shoureshi] gets to choose whatever he likes about those two proposals, and the students don’t have as much power as if a united proposal is sent.”
At the previous week’s senate meeting on Jan. 22, ASPSU senators requested more information from the SFC regarding the proposal, including an impact analysis that showed how students might be affected by the restructuring and clarification on how credit levels would affect access to fee-funded campus resources.
However, SFC Vice Chair Suwadu Jallow said the analysis was not possible to provide.
“We will try our best to recommend to the [2018–19 academic year’s] SFC to really send out maybe some type of survey,” Jallow said.
The SFC presented information on access to resources at each credit level, showing that students taking eight credits had full access to all resources excluding campus athletics, which requires an 11-credit load.
Shoureshi has 10 business days from Jan. 31 to either accept the SFC’s proposal or to notify the SFC of any changes under consideration. Once the president approves the budget, the PSU Board of Trustees will issue a final vote.