Student Representation Fee could increase to $2

The increase was voted on during the recent campus-wide ASG election

Robert Thomas, Staff Writer/Photographer

Next semester, students in the San Diego Community College District may see an optional $1 increase in the Student Representation Fee when they register for classes.

The current $1 SRF, paid at the time of class registration every semester, goes directly to the college’s Associated Student Government. The ASG then uses the money for a variety of purposes, including funding events on campus, matching donations made to campus clubs, and covering travel expenses for ASG members. Tad Tobar, who is currently running an uncontested campaign to be Mesa’s next ASG Treasurer said that “local SRF funds, what we have now, goes miles and miles for students.” Having this money allows the ASG spend their time working for students on campus rather than fundraising.

The proposed second dollar would go directly to the Student Senate for California Community Colleges, an organization of state legislators and representatives, including the Board of Governors, and ASG delegates from all of the community colleges in the state of California. The SSCCC as a whole meets twice a year and is made up of ten regions and students from all 113 community colleges in California. Eight members from Mesa’s ASG attended the most recent SSCCC meeting in Ontario, CA in order to meet with California state legislators.

William Newell, current acting vice president for the ASG said, “That one dollar that you contribute… the ASG collects that fee and utilizes it for when we actually go out and advocate for people.” Monthly regional meetings also take place between Mesa’s ASG and members of other student governments in San Diego County and Imperial County community colleges, known as Region 10 within the SSCCC.

“The interesting thing is,” Newell said, “we’re the only state that does that. This past March, we went to Washington D.C. for a national advocacy conference where we’re literally advocating for community college students as a whole to the federal government… The majority of the delegations there were from California… Those other states do not have that student representation fee.”

Newell told the Mesa Press that one of the problems is that Region 10 is severely underfunded. Tobar, who is actually in support of more funding for the SSCCC but concerned about how the funds will be distributed and spent, says of the proposed increase, “We’re talking about giving the SSCCC 2.5, 2.3 million dollars, an organization that doesn’t necessarily have a plan for how they’re gonna use that much money.”

Ideally, all that money from the increased SRF would trickle down, but it’s just unclear what will happen. There’s not enough transparency this early in the process. Tobar said, “What the SSCCC is asking for in my opinion is, ‘Hey we have these great ideas. They’re not really, you know, flushed out, but just give us money and you’ll see great results. And the more money you give, the more results you’ll see.’”

The SRF has always been optional and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. One thing is for certain, however – the ASG could not function without it.