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BG Falcon Media

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BG24 Newscast
September 21, 2023

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BG24 Newscast
September 21, 2023

Student government to vote for fee increase

The student government will vote on a resolution Monday night that will affect every student and even a service offered for students.

Student Legal Services Managing Attorney Rodney Fleming came to the Undergraduate Student Government early in February asking for support. His office, which is run separately from the University, is finding it increasingly difficult to operate under the $7 opt-out fee it receives, and was asking for an increase to $9 instead. Students have the option to opt out of the office when they pay for tuition. They can go under general fees and there is tab for opt-out fees. There they can choose to not pay for their services.

Out of all the students that attend the University, 88 percent of students participate in the program and in an average year, there are 1,562 office consults and 1,165 court appearances. The expenses that go into the salaries and court costs of the office have gone over the income of the office since 2011 and are at a little less than $250,000 while the income is a little more than $200,000.

“It’s the only income we have,” he said.

A team of three senators, Founder’s Hall Senator Aeden Timbrook, Centennial’s Hall Senator Nadia Oehler and At-Large Senator Theodore Trzaska presented a resolution to support the increase this past Monday.

Both Timbrook and Oehler brought the idea of the increase back to their hall councils and asked other senators to do the same.

“I didn’t see any negative feedback,” Timbrook said.

Oehler saw the same reaction at her hall council.

“I got good feedback,” she said. “Plus all people supported the offer for the fairly low price and great service.”

Fleming said students need the services they provide because they may be at a vulnerable time in their lives.

“They have reached adulthood and are [adults] but they maybe new at dealing with legal issues,” he said.

SLS was created in 1984 when landlords were taking advantage of their tenants and student’s wanted help, Fleming said.

“We deal with them, level the playing field,” he said. “Students can pull their money together so they get the protection they need.”

In short, they are here to help students eliminate any obstacle that would interfere with their studies, he said.

Fleming said there would be tough decisions to make if they don’t get the increase.

“If we stay at $7, the amount of income we generate will not meet the expenditures, so we cannot operate in the same manner,” he said. “We will have to limit services we provide, reduce staff, just look for drastic ways to cut costs.”

Freshman Erin Johnson decided to pay for the optional fee and wouldn’t mind paying the extra $2 increase.

“It’s a good thing to have just in case,” she said. “I never think I would need it, but at orientation they had a booth and told me all the services they offered and it’s a good thing for students to have.”

All three senators who wrote the resolution are confident it will pass.

“My only concern is that some senators won’t stress how great the support we get from [SLS] is, so that will translate into not supporting and vote no,” Trzaska said.

Fleming thinks that students will need their services and should support the increase.

“Many students don’t know about us because they don’t need us all the time, but value us when they do have to,” he said. “If you ask our consultants that have used our services, before they came to us they didn’t know about our services, but boy when they did need it, they were so grateful.”

If the resolution is passed, it will show that USG supports the increase in the opt out fee, said President Alex Solis.

“I will then sign a resolution and pass it on to the appropriate people who will handle it from there,” he said.

The meeting where USG will vote on the resolution will be at 7:30 p.m. Monday night in 308 Union. Check bgnews.com later that night to find out the results.

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