I received an email March 4 from “studentlife” to my Jaguar account asking me to participate in a “poll” to determine if there was support for a recreation fee. My first complaint is that no information was provided in the email about the pros or cons to the fee, just a link to the website where I could vote. Voting was set to close two days later, 5 p.m. March 6.
At 8 p.m. March 6, I received an email from the “welcomecenter” informing me that the “Official Referendum” on a recreational fee had passed. This was the first use of the term referendum that I had seen. The total votes cast were about 250: 140 students voted yes, 111 voted no. With a student population of approximately 4,329 students, this represents about a six percent participation rate. Effectively, 30 students made a decision for the entire student body. I have serious concerns in the way this was presented and carried out.
I’m unaware of what provisions there are in the governing regulations of the university to directly query the student body about additional fees, but I suspect the quick e-mail method isn’t it. The low vote and the closeness of the vote would not make me comfortable instituting a fee that will generate approximately $432,900 per year (4,329 students X $100 per semester), plus $50 per student for the summer session. This issue deserved more time and exposure.
I have heard from a few students who say that a forum was held at Brooks City-Base Campus Feb 18, and at the Main Campus Feb 20 with discussion about the fee. While this is great, and the way it should be, the results of those forums were, and still are, unknown to me. Where is the official vehicle to publish important information like this?
Although I’m an evening student, working full-time during the day, I would very much like to keep in touch with issues related to the effective operation of the university. I would like to see the university sponsor a website where students can post questions, open to review and comment by other students. This website would have been a wonderful place to host information about a recreation fee issue. To be clear, the website would need to permit participation by any student and have some type of ombudsman from the university to respond to questions, as well as keep the site current with activities and issues.
I’d like to hear what the university has to say on this subject.
James (Ben) Price, student
College of Business 2014
San Antonio, TX