Three Student Government Association senators aim to send General Activities Fees increase to vote.
The petition is calling for a student-wide vote on the GAF fund increase of $4.50 per credit hour for the next three years, maxing out at $13.50 per credit hour. It requires 500 students signatures, or five percent of the student population.
Sophomores Nathaniel Steinlicht, John Slunecka and Brent Seehafer are heading the petition.
Steinlicht and Slunecka voted “no” on the GAF increase. Their reasoning was SGA needed more student voices in the process. They did not necessarily disagree with the increase.
“There really wasn’t much for student opinion given, and it’s a pretty important issue,” Steinlicht said. “If everybody’s going to be paying, you want a lot of student opinion on it.”
Steinlicht said the petition is expected to be presented to SGA Feb. 17. The goal is to have the voting on the same ballots as senator and presidential elections, generating more student voting.
The GAF increase will generate more than $700,000 in fiscal year 2016 with $500,000 going to athletics. This allocation of money drew concern from some senators as well as students who are signing the petition.
Sophomore Dustin Santjer, SGA vice president and member of the seven person GAF committee, refused comment on the petition.
Santjer, however, did mention that SGA, as a whole, is in favor of the increase in GAF fees.
For 30 credit hours over the course of two semesters, students fees would increase $135 dollars.
Last year, SGA added an external communications position to reach out to campus students more. The SGA’s initiative was hoping for more student engagement, larger attendance at meetings and more interaction between students and SGA.
In the eyes of Slunecka, having great relations between senators and students have always been rocky.
He said most SGA senators are extremely active on campus, making it difficult for communication because of times sake but situations like increases to student payments require more talking.
“SGA didn’t do its due diligence in talking to students,” Slunecka said. “We had the two readings, and we voted it in, and it was passed. I think that was way too fast for something this important and this significant to the university.”
Santjer also declined comment on the communication between SGA and the student body.
Steinlicht and Slunecka have been approaching students in the Muenster University Center to pass petitions.
Senior Kendra Mulder met with the two senators Tuesday afternoon and signed the petition.
“Students should be informed about what’s going on,” Mulder said. “I don’t know if that information has been spread out to inform them of the GAF in general, and I think that’s more important.”
That’s precisely what the petition would do.
“We are not trying to move people in one direction or another. We just want to give them a chance to decide for themselves,” Slunecka said.