AS holds open forum for proposed fee, one student shows up

Only one student attended the Associated Students (AS) open-forum to discuss the possibility of a new $4 student fee to fund the California State Student Association (CSSA), a group that advocates for CSU students in legislative affairs.

Frankie Vasquez, a sociology major, attended the meeting for an extra credit assignment. Despite being a graduating senior, he thinks that the fee is a good idea.

“It’s only four dollars,” said Vasquez. “We (students) do need a bigger voice and if they are willing to speak on our behalf we should support them.”

The proposed Student Involvement and Representation Fee (SIRF), would be two dollars per student per semester. Currently, CSSA is funded 65 cents per student per semester out of the AS fee. The new fee would be separate from the AS fee.

“CSSA is important for students because it represents students as a whole, it represents all 437,000 students (in the CSU system) and it represents them in university affairs and legislative affairs (in the) state and federal level,” said Devon Graves, from Cal Poly Pomona, chair of the board of directors for CSSA. “It’s important that our concerns and our issues are being brought to the forefront.”

The funding from this bill would be critical to the efforts of CSSA, according to AS President Christopher Woolett.

“With more funding, we can send more students to DC, more students to Sacramento, and have more students involved in the process,” said Woolett.

Most recently, CSSA was in Washington, D.C for CSU Hill Day, advocating congressional leaders for the expansion of financial aid for students and grants for undergraduate research, said CSU Student Trustee and Vice President of Associated Students Talar Alexanian.

The proposed fee is scheduled to go before the CSU Board of Trustees in late March, and if passed may be implemented as soon as fall 2014.