Winter Student Ballot

Vote on a New Proposed Fee and Student Union Reform

By Chloe Marina Manchester

The upcoming Evergreen Winter Ballot will be available to vote on through your account soon. Two of the items up for voting are a proposal to reform the Geoduck Student Union (GSU), as well as the Student Education Investment Initiative.

The Student Education Investment Initiative was created to provide additional financial resources for academics at Evergreen. The Student Education Investment Initiative was added to the ballot by student petition.  According to the language of the proposal, “this vote would approve the creation of a fee-based fund overseen by an independent student-led committee.” There are two options on the upcoming ballot.

Option one for the the Student Education Investment Initiative is $5 per credit/per quarter. This fee would provide “additional financial resources for the student’s’ academic program based on its per student/per credit enrollment.” It would be broken down as follows. $3.25 to program projects, guest speakers, field trips, and other in program activities. $0.75 for the curricular planning budget to create “high quality programs.” $0.50 for faculty development opportunities informed by student feedback, and $0.50 for “student-led committee stipends,  reporting costs, and community outreach.”

Option two is $7 per credit, per quarter. The same monetary breakdown as laid out in option one with the additional two dollars per credit to be paid to student academic support positions such as an expansion of the summer undergraduate research fellowship program or program aides.

Two articles of the proposed Geoduck Student Union Reform Act of 2016 are also going to be on the Winter ballot. The first of these articles, Article III of the original proposal, is to do with the proposed establishment of independant services fee. The proposed fee would allow the GSU to have independence and further empower the representation of the students at TESC. It would also allow for more Services and Activities Board funding to be spread around other student groups. The starting amount of the GSU Services Fee is set at $7.50. The fee will be opt-out. The GSU reserves the right to increase the fee by 5% every five years by a majority vote. The fee will be operated by the chief financial officer of the GSU. If this passes the GSU will sever its financial ties with the S&A Board.

The fee will be divided between student stipends, programming, travel, supplies, membership in the Washington Student Association, and miscellaneous expenses. Through this breakdown there will be surplus funds. Until the College Activities Building renovation has been paid off, all surplus fees will go to that debt. Surplus fees after the debt has been paid off will be spent in a way determined by that year’s GSU representatives.

The fee would be collected starting Fall quarter 2016 for use in the the 2017-18 academic year. The fee would always be used the year after its collection. If approved, this issue would come back to voting in ten years, for those students to decide to increase, decrease, rescind or maintain the fee as it stands.

Article IV (proposed constitutional amendments) of the GSU Reform bill will also be on the Winter quarter ballot. On the reforming of future bylaws changes (Article IX of the GSU Constitution), the following will be amended by adding the following line, “Any Bylaws of the GSU that are amended must be approved by three fourths (3/4) of all GSU Representatives present at the proposal of the amendment, beginning at the end of Spring Quarter 2016.” On reforming decision making procedures the entire article of the GSU Constitution (Article VIII) will be revised with the article now reading, “All regular business, legislation, actions proposed and elections will be decided by a majority vote (50% +1) of Representatives present.”

Also on the ballot is the issue of parking services, the previous Cooper Point Journal issue contains an article addressing that. Most issues on the ballot are voted on by members of the Geoduck Student Union. An exception to this is when issues are placed on the ballot following a student petition as is the case here with the Student Education Investment Initiative.