To Those Students Whom it May Concern,
I am pleased that for the first time in several administrations the Student Government Association has initiated a project which has sparked interest and debate among not only the Representatives of SGA but also students, The Jambar, and other local press. Unfortunately, it has come to my attention that there is much misinformation on the topic of the “SGA Appropriation Budget Restructuralization Project” proposal.
While I will not abuse my position as a bully pulpit to proselytize for all of my own opinions and beliefs as some others have done, I will most certainly take this time to clear up some of the confusion that has so unfortunately polluted the public ear.
First and foremost, as of today, SGA has not approved the final draft of this proposal, nor have they offered a resolution to the Board of Trustees to consider the proposal as a part of next year’s budget. The Vindicator was wrong in reporting that the proposal had been “approved.” If and when the time comes that the body approves a resolution suggesting the proposal to the Board, there is no guarantee that this proposal will indeed be accepted or instituted by the Board. The scope and power of SGA has been wildly overestimated while the power of the Board of Trustees remains largely underestimated. SGA can do little more than recommend such a proposal.
Secondly, the SGA proposal makes no mention of the word “tax.” Not even once. The use of the word “tax” is a result of disinformation that has been propagated by The Jambar. Each headline on November 10th, 17th, and 19th in The Jambar concerning the fee has used the word “tax.” The Vindicator refrained from doing so in both of their articles on November 15th and 16th. The use of the word “tax” is pejorative and serves as nothing more than a vehicle to shift the focus of the true issue. While one could easily mistake such a fee for a “tax,” in this case to do so would be wrong. In the proposal written by SGA, the cost to the students is aptly described as a “Student Organizational & Academics Fee.” Much like any other fee, this fee grants you access as a student to funding for a wide variety of potential activities during your tenure at Youngstown State University.
Third, there will be no additional costs above and beyond what you would be paying for the next academic year if SGA has the proposal instituted as they wish. SGA wishes to have the fee included into the already anticipated, state-mandated tuition increase that is due this fall. The question that I pose is this: Would you rather see twelve dollars of your money go to another fee or cost that will end up somewhere in a discretionary fund to be used for purposes you know not what? Or, would you rather see twelve dollars go to SGA (a body of your elected representatives and peers) to hand back to students to better their careers, the University, and the community? You will likely be paying an additional twelve dollars (and much more) come next fall regardless of what SGA does. The only difference is that with this proposal the student body will directly experience the benefits of some of this money. If the issue were to go to referendum (in which the students would vote), it is likely that the fee would be included above and beyond any tuition increase that occurs next fall.
Lastly, some students are concerned about how this proposal will benefit them. Exactly how much the proposal can benefit someone is up to the individual. Granted, while the proposal may benefit some more than others, it is the overwhelming belief of SGA that this proposal will benefit most everyone in some capacity. At some point during your career, you have or will likely attend some event on campus hosted by an organization, or otherwise, that SGA has had a hand in funding or organizing. With the current draft of the budget proposal the frequency and variety of such events on campus will be much greater. Organizations on campus will be able to do more, more often, giving the student community additional opportunities to attend such events on campus. As an advocate of student life, I encourage that you take advantage of all the wonderful events that you can on campus. For those of you who cannot participate in any such organizations, academic activities, or events due to extenuating circumstances, I believe that those who do have the time will continue to improve the image of Youngstown State University with these funds, making your education here all the more valuable to those perceiving the University from the outside.
Thank you all for the wonderful exchange of ideas and opinions,
Zachary Brown, President
YSU Student Government Association