Referendum could raise activities fee

A proposed referendum may require that students pay one more dollar as a part of the yearly student activities fee.

The referendum states that the $1 fee be allocated to Student Government starting next June. If it were to pass, the referendum would bring in roughly $19,000 for SG.

Campaigning for the referendum, as well as for the candidates for SG Senate for the September elections, begins Monday at 9 a.m. However, junior Ryan Aquilina, who came up with the idea, has been petitioning to have the referendum added to the ballot since last Thursday.

“I think the extra funding would better serve students and all student organizations,” Aquilina said. “Everyone would benefit from this, not just students in SG.”

While Aquilina also serves as SG press secretary, he stressed the fact that the idea for proposing this referendum came from him as an individual student, instead of as an SG initiative.

“He’s really working as Ryan Aquilina on this one, not ‘Ryan Aquilina, SG press secretary,’” said Fernanda Sanchez, SG Elections Committee chair. “It was all his idea.”

While funding would allow SG to widen the scope of their own programs, such as the Canes Night program that recently sent 150 students to a Marlins game and Pitbull concert, it would also allow SG to cosponsor other organizations.

Any student can propose a referendum to be added to the elections ballot. To get a referendum placed on the ballot, all that is required is 500 signatures with students’ names, student ID numbers, year and school. The proposed referendum must be presented before the speaker of the Senate. SG offers a referendum writing workshop for any student that is interested in proposing one.

Before a referendum can be placed on the ballot, each signature from the petition must be confirmed as belonging to a University of Miami student. If there are enough valid signatures, students will be able to vote on the referendum in the UC Breezeway Sept. 20-21.

“I’m really excited that I’m able to do this because it’s great to see that students actually want this,” Aquilina said.

So far, most responses to the petition have been positive, with very few people declining to sign.

“It’s only one dollar right? Why not?” freshman Ali Zaman said while adding his signature to the petition.

Alexandra Leon may be contacted at aleon@themiamihurricane.com.

INFO BOX

Student Government will be hosting three events where students can meet the candidates for Senate and discuss the student activities fee referendum.

Monday: 5 p.m.-7 p.m. in the Stanford/Hecht Dining Hall

Tuesday: 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. in the Food Court

Wednesday: 5 p.m.-7 p.m. in the Mahoney/Pearson dining hall