As some readers no doubt know, USG voted unanimously to increase student fees to $100 during a joint operating meeting. The fee increase passed despite a unanimous no vote from the smaller GSG delegation. This extremely unusual split highlights how out of touch and self interested GSG has become.
I am the President of the Mines Activities Council (MAC) and this semester, for the first time, MAC has been added as a voting member of USG. In fact, every governing body on campus has been added as full members of the council. Additionally, budget committee, which used to control all fee allocation, has been disbanded so that the entire USG council has a voice in allocating student funds to student groups.
MAC is the recipient of the largest allocation on campus (~$210,000 last year). The small council of 9 students is responsible for planning and executing entertainment programs for the entire student body including both undergraduate and graduate students indiscriminately. We are responsible for all of E-Days, Homecoming, movie nights, comedians, special events, and off-campus activities. All of those programs are limited by budget and we spend considerable time seeking outside financial support (we have already taken in over $100,000 this year outside of our allocation). Unlike any other club on campus, we do not require membership for any one of our events and we program targeting every single student possible.
When we have events that lack attendance, the majority of the time the cause can be attributed to lack of awareness on campus for the event. When students attend our events they largely enjoy them but we can always do better, we can always reach more, and this often requires additional funding.
The $6 increase to student fees enacted by the joint meeting between USG and GSG will benefit student groups on campus. The group poised to reap the largest benefit will be MAC, and by definition, the students of Mines. Unfortunately, MAC was only present at the joint session for the final vote as it was scheduled during our regular weekly meeting. If we had predicted the derision that occurred at the meeting we certainly would have liked to have been present and voiced our opinion that this fee increase, if allocated as it has been in the past, will greatly benefit the less involved.
GSG’s opinions that the raise was arbitrary and nondescript as to its destination are fair. $6 does not make up for the allocation requests not met last year and the new monies were not earmarked for certain clubs (as much as we want it to go to MAC). The increase, as MAC understands it, was lessened to ease the burden on individual students and not earmarked in order to be consistent with the USG allocation process.
GSG’s stark opposition to the fee increase is understood by my council; however, we feel that such a position is detrimental to the campus community and displays a singular mindset of the organization to oppose the out-of-the-classroom activities at Mines. Hopefully their votes are not representative of the greater graduate student population at CSM who have often vocalized their support for E-Days, MAC and everything we do. Our unofficial motto is “making Mines bearable, for a 1-2 hours each week.” We would like to add another hour, but that costs money and we are extremely grateful to the USG council for supporting our efforts.