Rally bursts university tax on student fees

Dozens of red balloons, representing the university’s proposed 2 percent tax on student fees, were popped in near-unison by the crowd of students gathered yesterday afternoon to rally against the tax.

The rally was organized by members of ASPSU with the aim of letting the administration further know student opposition to the proposed tax.

The tax, as currently proposed, would take 2 percent of all expenditures of each student-fee-funded group, not counting athletics or the Smith Memorial Student Union. The tax would raise about $100,000 for the university, which is currently facing a severe budget deficit.

In order to accommodate the tax, the Student Fee Committee would either raise student fees to cover the cost, or student groups would have adjust their budgets to use less money than was actually given to them by the SFC.

“We value where the money goes,” SFC member Christy Harper said, and that students control where it goes.

The university administration has not indicated how long the tax would be imposed, though Harper stressed that they did not want the tax under any circumstances.

“We are not prepared to set a precedent,” she said.

Harper encouraged students to write letters and generally make their opposition to the tax known.

“If we keep doing this, it will make an impact,” Harper said. Although, “the administration has the ultimate decision.”

Amanda Barron, an ASPSU intern, concluded the rally by initiating the balloon popping. The red balloons were inscribed with black marker to read “2%.”

“Students don’t have anything concrete they can do to stop that (the tax),” Barron said. “It’s our activism and support against the issue that is going to make the change.”

Students present at the rally filled out red cards stating their opposition to the tax. Members of ASPSU will be taking these, along with letters signed by various student groups, to university President Daniel Bernstine tomorrow, when he returns from a business trip to California.