SGA explains fee process, upcoming referendums

ULM Hawkeye

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Students,
April 18th and 19th is the SGA elections. It will consist of SGA senate elections, SGA officer elections, and three referendums. The three referendums will consist of a vote on the renewal of the student support fee, a vote to build an indoor/outdoor pool and amphitheater in Bayou Park, and a vote to change the current natatorium into a much needed event venue. Each of these fees would go a long ways to improve ULM and help us to continue to be a leader in our commitment to our students and to the progress of ULM.
The Student Support Fee is a renewal of a fee that students currently pay. The money from the fee pays for many services that all students enjoy and the salaries of 22 staff members in Student Affairs and student services. If this fee does not pass, Student Life, Career Connections, Student Success Center, Counseling Center, the Health Center, and many other areas of student services would be cut significantly or done away with if this fee does not pass.
When talking about referendums there are often many misunderstandings that we encounter when talking to students. A student fee is saying that the majority of students agree to fund whatever is laid out in the referendum. Students cannot pass a fee to fund residence halls or apartments on campus. It must be funded by a bond and run through a facility corporation of the university. State appropriated funds cannot be used to build student housing. Students cannot vote in a fee to support an academic department. That would be the same thing as raising tuition which can only be increased by state legislative approval. Students can vote to fund services and auxiliary venues. Many times when referendums are passed to support services it will free up state appropriated funds to academic programs. So when a fee to support athletics, student services, or student life is passed, the state appropriated funds that would go to support these services will then be used to support academic programs. This helps lessen the cuts that the state imposes on ULM.
Your Student Government Association and the ULM administration work really hard to do what is in the best interest of our students. When we proposed the Natatorium and the Bayou Park Recreational facility projects, we tried to get as much input from the students as possible. ULM students voted to close the Natatorium and pursue building a recreational facility in Bayou Park in a straw poll held in the fall semester. We, the students, faculty and staff are always trying to improve our University. The proposed plans and referendums can be found at www.ulm.edu/vote

Nathan Hall
Asst. Dean of Student Life