Ballot initiatives: a look into three referenda

February 27, 2018

Rachel Librach

rlibrach@uccs.edu

    Students will have a say in voting others into office this March; however, they will also decide the fate of three referenda proposed on the ballot as well.

    This year, three referenda will be put to a student vote, including initiatives concerning safety and transportation, the Green Action Fund and student media on campus.

    There referenda were explored at the 2018 SGA Candidate Debate on Feb. 26. Voting on the referenda will begin at 9 a.m. on March 12 and end at 4 p.m. on March 16. Students will also be able to vote on candidates for each SGA position during this week.

 

Safety and Transportation Fee Referendum

“With no increase to the Safety and Transportation Fee for academic year 2018/2019, would you as a UCCS student, support updating the fee language, written in 1998, to include supporting alternate modes of transportation such as the city bus service?”

 

         The Safety and Transportation Fee referendum seeks to reorganize and reallocate where money for the Safety and Transportation Fee goes. Currently, each student pays $94 in the fall and spring semesters and $47 in the summer semester toward the fee.

   According to the referendum language, these funds go toward providing “parking on or near campus, campus shuttles, increased service and hours from our campus police, and other safety features.”

    A bill authored by Emily Garberding, senator of sustainability, was proposed for the Safety and Transportation Fee on Dec. 7, 2017.

     The language for the Safety and Transportation Fee has not been updated in the last 20 years. Since then, there have been many more developments on transportation services offered by the school.

     According to Vanessa Obetz, a graduate student in the psychological science program and an assistant in the Sustainable Transportation program on campus, there are several programs and organizations on campus trying to scrape together funds to support the various transportation services offered at UCCS.

   “Right now, the fee is very specific to the campus shuttle operations. This new language opens it up to any alternative transportation services such as Pedal Perks, Mountain Metro, Zip Car and any bike share program or possibilities for funding another alternative transportation program in the future,” said Obetz.

   No additional fees will be charged to students as part of the referendum. The official question that will be proposed to students on the ballot can only be answered with a “Yes” or “No.”

   

Media Fee Referendum

    (Editor’s Note: The Media Fee Referendum was written and proposed in part by Hannah Harvey, Editor-in-Chief, and Beckie Munoz, business manager, of The Scribe, alongside Madison Ellis, station manager of UCCS Radio. The Scribe and UCCS Radio are actively campaigning for the media fee.)

 

“Are you, the student body, in favor of a non-sunsetting media fee that would fund The Scribe, UCCS’ student-run newspaper, UCCS Radio, UCCS’ student-run radio station, and future media on campus?”

 

    The Media Fee Referendum proposes an independent media fee that will be established to fund current and future student media organizations, including The Scribe and UCCS Radio. This referendum states that students will be charged 53 cents per credit hour at the beginning of each semester of each academic year to fund student media outside of the Student Activity Fee pool.

    The proposed fee arose from the need to adjust The Scribe and UCCS Radio’s budgets in accordance with rising minimum wage and a desire to expand the functioning of student media on campus.

    As minimum wage increases 90 cents each year until it reaches $12 in 2012, the overall cost of operations for student-run media also increase.

    The Scribe and UCCS Radio take one third of funding from the Student Activity Fee. The media fee funds will result in about $155,000 a year that will go toward supporting student-run media on campus.

    According to the Media Fee Referendum,  funding that would be used for student media in the Student Activity Fee will be “given back to clubs and organizations, who can use it to further professional opportunities for the students involved in their operations.”  

    Without the passing of this fee, the referendum states that the Student Activity Fee will not be able to sustain these student-run media organizations and may result in “preventing accessibility to on-campus news and information”.

    Students will have the option of voting “Yes,” “No,” or abstaining.

 

Green Action Fund Fee Referendum

“Are you in favor of the continuance of the $5 per student per semester Green Action Fee? The money derived from the Green Action Fee is used by the Green Action Fund, a majority student committee, to approve student projects that increase campus sustainability and create student engagement opportunities. The fee will allow students to continue creating a greener UCCS campus through advocacy, service, and leadership through the Spring of 2023.”

 

    The Green Action Fee Referendum seeks to renew the $5 per-student fee in the fall and spring semesters, and a fee of $2.50 in the Summer semester, until the Spring of 2023.

    As it is described in the referendum, the Green Action Fee goes toward funding “a variety of student, faculty, and staff-led projects to improve and enhance campus sustainability and create student engagement opportunities.”

    The “Yes” or “No” question that will be proposed to students on the ballot.

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