GAF increase in question

Editorial Board

Issue: Resolution 14-03-R, recommending Students’ Association’s support of a general activity fee increase, was brought to the table Monday, April 28 to help combat stadium maintenence costs. 

The general argument for a GAF increase is that we all use the services that get the funding; what isn’t really thought of is what services matter to the health and wellness of the students. The Collegian understands and supports a GAF increase, but having all of the funding go toward stadium upkeep is selfish of the administration. 

The average attendance during the 2013 Jacks’ football home games was roughly 9,000 people, this number isn’t just students, rather a synthesis of community members, alumni and students. The size of Coughlin-Alumni Stadium is 15,000 making the stadium two-thirds full whenever there was a home game. However, research shows that nearly one-third of college students have mental health issues requiring the work of a professional counselor. There is an outcry for a Wellness Center expansion, a platform all of the SA president and vice president candidates ran on. 

Using the average of 16 credits per student, every student would have to pay $24 extra a semester, and roughly 13,000 students attending SDSU for two semesters, that gives us $624,000 a year of extra funds. Which, using the average salary of a counselor at SDSU, would result in the possibility of hiring 18 more counselors to service the needs of students with mental health issues. Even having one-sixth of this increase given to the counseling center would almost double the staff they currently have, not just lowering the stress of those professionals, but allowing more students access to this much needed student service. 

An increase is inevitable, we need to spend money to be an amazing university, but we should not just put all of our eggs in one basket. We need to spread the money around all realms of the complicated university system. There is a need to offer the most of our university to the greatest amount of students in attendance. The students who attend here are the ones who make the university thrive. We’re the ones being guided into the world by this institution, we need to be offered not only services that yield entertainment, but services that make sure we’re healthy and successful members of society. 

Will all of the money generated by a GAF increase even be used for the upkeep of this stadium? The plans also call for the University Police to move into the stadium, and that is a service that students require as well, so having upkeep is important, but will upkeep cost that much every year? Is there a line we can draw that says we’ll pay for some with fees and address bigger issues as they arise? We can’t just lean on one big project at a time and expect the university to just flop into a success, it requires a balance of funds and resources to create success. 

Stance: The Collegian supports a GAF increase, but it should go to other areas of SDSU, not just the upkeep of the stadium.