University of Connecticut students can vote this week on whether they wish to reaffirm the UConnPIRG and The Daily Campus semesterly fees and increase the Student Union Board of Governors (SUBOG) fee by $1.
Voting is open until noon tomorrow. Students can vote by going to vote.uconn.edu, clicking the button on the right that says “Information on spring 2019 vote here” then clicking on the button that says “Vote here.” On that page, students can vote both for 2019-2020 Undergraduate Student Government (USG) leaders and for the Tier III reaffirmations.
Each Tier III organization is up for a fee reaffirmation vote once every three years, UConnPIRG Executive Board Chair Walter Dodson said. UConnPIRG is petitioning to keep its waivable $5 per semester fee and The Daily Campus is hoping to retain its non-waivable $10 semesterly fee, while SUBOG is petitioning to increase its non-waivable fee from $23 to $24 per semester.
Only fee-paying undergraduate students can vote for the reaffirmations, Dodson said. He said he hopes students vote because it’s important to both elect student representatives and voice support for Tier IIIs.
“This is a vote on student power,” Dodson said. “Every Tier III adds to the student experience on this campus, whether it be The Daily Campus, which is written by students for students on reporting that is important to students, or UConnPIRG, where we empower students to make a difference in the world and the community around them, or SUBOG, who aims to produce content and events that are not only fun and exciting, also culturally important to the value of this campus.”
Daily Campus editor-in-chief Chris Hanna said he hopes students reaffirm The Daily Campus fee because the organization works hard to provide stories and information relevant to them.
“Stories like those on the rec center fee and the issues with parking at Storrs Center are especially important, and are stories students get from us that they otherwise might not know about,” Hanna said. “We give students a voice, a platform, that is crucial for life as undergraduates. Through our articles, students can be empowered to make change on this campus, be it through PIRG, through SUBOG, USG and so on.”
SUBOG president Adam Sherif said the organization is requesting a fee increase to help lower the cost of the concerts it puts on.
“Many people have cited high ticket costs as the reason they don’t attend some of our concerts and travel trips,” Sherif said. “When comparing to other schools, students are able to enjoy a similar scale of events at a lower price. We hear this feedback and are eager to make a positive change for students.”
Sherif said a $1 per semester fee increase would allow SUBOG to decrease the cost of its paid events by 33 percent.
“A $1 increase could mean $50 [in] saving over the year,” Sherif said. “As a student who pays the fee myself, I can recognize how valuable this could be for SUBOG programming in 2020-2021.”
Dodson said he hopes people vote to reaffirm all three Tier III organizations because it’s a way for students to express their voices on a campus where, in his opinion, they only have around 20 percent of power.
“This is as much a vote on student power as anything else, and that’s why it’s so important that students go out and vote yes for ConnPIRG, vote yes for The Daily Campus and vote yes for SUBOG,” Dodson said. “We’re all in this together.”
Gabriella DeBenedictis is a senior staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.