Univ. Center Fee Increase on Spring Ballot

A referendum to increase University Center fees by $5 will be on this this year’s spring ballot and, if passed, will go into effect Fall Quarter 2011.

The referendum — presented to A.S. Council by University Centers Advisory Board Chair Nicole Metildi — would fund maintenance, support and repairs for Price Center and Student Center.

Both undergraduate and graduate students will vote on the referendum when the final language is approved by both A.S. Council and the Graduate Student Association, according to Office of the President Press Secretary Reem Ateyeh.

“Council and Wafa support it,” Ateyeh said. “It is an amount that students will be paying to keep one of the most used centers on our campus afloat. Students get the final say in whether they think this is an important enough increase.”

If passed, the quarterly fee — which would be raised from the current $76.50 to $81.50 per student — would return 29 percent of the proceeds to financial aid.

UCEN’s sole source of funding comes from student fees and vendor rates.

“The student fees are around 63-65 percent of our budget,” Metildi said. “It wouldn’t exactly be feasible for us to seek funding elsewhere.”

The most recent draft of the referendum allows the fee to be adjusted annually based on the Consumer Price Index, with annual adjustments of no more than 2 percent.

The original referendum would have allowed annual adjustments of up to 5 percent.

“If the fee does not pass, UCEN will most definitely need to cut hours of operation of the facilities and seriously consider charging [services],” Metildi said. “Students will see a deterioration in facilities as we will not be able to keep up with maintenance projects. “

University Center Director Paul Terzino could not be reached for comment.