Senate offers resolution on rising tuition

Undergraduate Student Government finished its Tuesday night meeting by passing all legislation on its agenda, including a funding request and a resolution.

Advocacy · Commuter Senator Vicken Antounian and Speaker Pro Tempore Matthew Arkfeld present the tuition representative resolution at Tuesday’s Undergraduate Student Government meeting. – Joseph Chen | Daily Trojan

The funding request applies to the USA Today readership program, and the resolution passed applied to the conflict-free minerals.

The USA Today readership program has been available to students since late October. The program is currently in its trial stage, and will end within the next two weeks. The program costs $2,760 every 20 days and provides 300 papers each day. The USA Today readership program, along with The New York Times readership program, gives students on campus access to free newspapers.

The conflict-free mineral resolution, which was sponsored by senators Jasmine McAllister and Matthew Arkfeld, encourages the university’s administration to purchase conflict-free minerals, often used in electronics, and to reduce the economic support to the current genocide occurring in the Democratic Republic of the Congo because of the deadly scramble for minerals.

The resolution urges the administration to issue a statement acknowledging the link between the products they buy and the violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Additionally, the resolution asks the administration to encourage its business partners to also forgo buying these products.

Other cities and colleges, such as Stanford University and Pomona College, have implemented this policy. The resolution will be passed onto President C. L. Max Nikias and other administration members.

The Campus Affairs committee also presented a resolution to appoint a student representative to attend meetings regarding tuition. Senator Vicken Antounian and Arkfeld sponsored the resolution.

The university’s undergraduate tuition rate rose 70 percent from 2001 to 2011, which is about $1,700 per year. Proponents hope the addition of a student representative would better inform students to the reasons behind the tuition hikes.

“If you’re paying for something you want to know what you’re getting in return,” Arkfeld said. “That goes into education as well. You know you’re getting a great education going into USC, but we just want to alleviate stress and discomfort that the students and their parents might have when it comes to paying for it.”

Wiley Strahan, director of campus affairs and a senior majoring in health promotion and disease prevention, believes the student voice on tuition costs will benefit the entire student body.

“It’s important for students to have a voice in their tuition,” Strahan said. “It will be less about why tuition is raising, but what factors go into raising tuition.”

The UC schools have one student representative on the system’s board of regents, the body responsible for setting the tuition rates. Similarly, Duke University has a comparable initiative that determines student tuition rates.

Strahan hopes a vote for the student tuition resolution will give the university an opportunity to be an innovator and leader among private universities in California. Strahan also believes the students will respond positively to this possible enhancement.

“They’ll welcome this change,” Strahan said. “They will like having their input heard by the administrators.”

If passed by the senate, the resolution will be delivered to the university’s administration and board of trustees. The student member on the board will be appointed by USG President Mikey Geragos for a one-year term and be selected to represent students’ opinions on the topic of tuition, according to Strahan.

The resolution guidelines also stipulate that the student tuition representative attend at least one student senate meeting to present the estimated cost of attendance for the upcoming year. This requirement will help bridge the gap between student government and the administration in regard to tuition costs.

Logan Heley, the assistant director of campus affairs and a sophomore majoring in history and broadcast and digital journalism, also projects the administration will benefit from this possible position.

“This will be overall beneficial to students, trustees and all stakeholders at USC because administrators can get a student perspective on how the decisions they’re making is impacting students,” Heley said. “It will increase the dialogue between administrators, students and parents.”

The senate will vote on the resolution regarding a representative for student tuition next Tuesday.

Presentations by academic affairs, alumni affairs and university affairs were also made at Tuesday’s meeting.

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