President decides not to raise University Union fee for spring

Imran Majid

While the Student Fee Advisory Committee approved the proposal to expand the University Union and WELL in October, Sacramento State President Alexander Gonzalez has decided to deny their recommendation.

In a letter sent to the Union WELL Inc. Board of Directors in November, Gonzalez said the decision was based on student feedback, which indicated the proposed $250 fee increase was an issue.

“After carefully reviewing the students’ feedback, the financial projections and the amenities that would and would not be available under the proposed fee change, I am reluctantly not approving the increase,” Gonzalez wrote. “However, the student feedback showed their desire to expand the University Union and ease congestion in the WELL, and I fully support those ideas.”

Through the alternative consultation process, students offered feedback by attending open town halls and filling out questionnaires regarding the proposed 6,000 seat event center and additional space and amenities in the WELL and Union.

Of the 516 students who filled out the survey, 55.8 percent said they do not support the fee increase.

“Students spoke up and said what they wanted and [Gonzalez] listened,” said Director of News Services Kim Nava. “He decided to not implement the proposed fee. What he is asking staff to do now is prepare a new proposal for the alternative consultation process. What he’s looking at are changes to expand the University Union and ease congestion in the WELL.”

Nava said the alternative consultation process was effective and offered students a venue to voice their concerns and opinions directly to the president.

The Union WELL Inc. Board of Directors will meet with Gonzalez Monday to begin discussing a new proposal that would include a smaller fee increase, if any.

If approved by the Board, the recommendation would once again be discussed through the alternative consultation process, and then require approval by the Student Fee Advisory Committee and Gonzalez.

“We’ll see what the president has to say and then develop a decision after we meet with him,” said Union WELL Inc. Chair Caleb Fountain.

Fountain said the Board put in hard work in researching and creating the expansion proposal, and as a student he personally understands the benefits of it.

“I see the benefits but at the same time I am happy that students’ fees aren’t being increased,” Fountain said. “I see [students] struggle with this and they say it’s an issue. For this, I would be supportive of it but at the same time it’s nice to see [fees] not being raised.”

The proposed fee increase would have been effective spring 2014, and raised the University Union fee from $209.50 to $459.50.

Biochemistry major Raylene Olmos said she is glad fees are remaining the same.

“If we’re getting new stuff with the expansion without tuition going up than that’s great,” Olmos said. “[But] if it went up $200 I would have cried. I could barely afford it now.”