State

CSUS spurns fee hike to fund project

TURLOCK — Students this week rejected a proposal to raise fees at California State University, Stanislaus, to pay for a new student union.

Over two days, 646 students voted against the fee increase and 152 voted in favor.

Had it passed, student union fees at the school, now $140 per year, would have gone up $50 every year through the 2013-14 school year, then up $100 in 2014-15, making the fee $440.

Bryce Dias, a graduate student who is chairman of the University Student Union board of directors, said the decision was disappointing. He attributed the loss to a number of factors: the economy, already rising fees and poor communication about the increase.

"We at the student union had offered various forums and one-on-one meetings, and even in classrooms if anyone brought it up, we'd talk about it," Dias said. "But there were some other people on campus who didn't want to even have a dialogue. They were very strict about no fee increases whatsoever."

He pointed out that only about 10 percent of eligible students voted in the election.

The money would have gone toward a $27 million project that would have included a commuter lounge, showers and lockers; a place for speakers to address groups; even, potentially, a day care center for children of students.

Dias said the board will move ahead with another plan to improve the student union, though it won't be a big construction project.

"We need to find more innovative ways to provide those services to an expanded variety of students," he said. "We're going to be focusing on what type of services we can provide."

Bee staff writer Patty Guerra can be reached at pguerra@modbee.com or 578-2343.

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