At the Associated Students of the University of Nevada, Reno’s senate meeting on Oct. 4, there were two presentations at the start of the meeting regarding the raise of student tuition fees.
The first was presented by Sheena Harvey, the director of the Fitness and Recreation Sports Department at the University, to which she proposed an increase on behalf of the E.L. Wiegand Fitness Center fee.
Before the Board of Regents of the Nevada System of Higher Education voted in 2015, the gym fee was optional for students. Since that vote, there is now a mandatory $45 fee for every student.
Currently, $30 of that fee goes to operations and $15 goes to the construction loan that still has at least 11 years to be paid off. However, the department proposed raising the gym fees by $10 or $20. The guest fees may also be raised.
The gym is currently open roughly 362 days a year from 6 a.m. to midnight. The presentation says that it is necessary to raise the price on student credit fees so that intramural sports can continue to be free, so they can continue to host a wide-range of classes, so they can raise the wages to the new minimum wage of students and more. They also hope to create a peer mentorship program, which they will need more funds for as well.
The New Student Initiatives’ proposal of the New Student Orientation program fee was the second presentation heard at the meeting.
The goal of NSI is to “connect [with students] and help them feel like they belong here.” The orientation at the University helps with retention rates, to which the presenter Nikole Nichols explained makes students want to come here and to feel comfortable in the setting.
The fee will increase by $50, raising it from $150 to $200. However, the last time it was increased was when it was voted on in 2013 and enacted in fiscal year 2014.
Joel Martin, the senator for the College of Liberal Arts asked where the fee actually exists.
Nichols responded that most students who register for and attend orientation end up attending the university. In the summer of 2023, roughly 4,000 students attended orientation and only about 50 students decided to not attend the university after that. For those 50 students, the $150 fee is not seen from them because it’s not taken out of their tuition since they decided not to attend the University.
An Act To Create An Alternative Compensation Method For ASUN Officers passed
This new bill, An Act To Create An Alternative Compensation Method For ASUN Officers was brought forward to ensure officers, regardless of their citizenship status, are paid for the work they do in the ASUN. Before, if students are undocumented and on staff they can’t get paid for the work they do.
This piece of legislation was presented by Diana Landazuri, a senator for the College of Business, Tori Beaulac, a senator for the College of Science and Antony Kuhl, a senator for the College of Engineering.
The payment provided in this compensation method is a $5,000 scholarship for students who need it.
“The Director of the Center for Student Engagement may compensate officers who do not meet employment requirements via scholarship to equal the amount of their compensation level,” the addendum to the Statue of the Associated Students says.
Jefrin Jojan, a senator for the College of Engineering, expressed worry that if an officer resigns halfway through the semester, they may just walk away with the money provided to them for their service in office.
Senator Landazuri said that since it’s divided by semesters and they receive the first half of the money in the fall semester and the second half in the spring semester, that they would walk away with the money only if they resigned mid-semester.
Sandra Rodriguez, the director of the Center for Student Engagement confirmed during public comment that all undocumented students in the past have never quit in the middle of a session and have fulfilled their term entirely.
“I enthusiastically support this bill, I think it’s fantastic,” Martin said. “Let’s say one of our constituents, an undocumented student, runs [and] wins their election: Enough people had faith in that person to represent them, why shouldn’t we pay them?”
Leaf Acklin, a senator for the College of Liberal Arts reminds the table that this system of undocumented students is not under discussion here. The bill is simply about “unpaid labor.”
The plan is just to go forward with compensating for undocumented students, not back-paying them.
“I think that this is kind of a no-brainer bill,” Kelsea Frobes, the senator of the School of Journalism said. “I think that if we were to say no on this, or if there’s any people that object to this, you’re not representing your constituents that you were elected to represent, so I think that this is very important.”
After discussion, the bill was passed unanimously.
Executive branch trend continues
This week, the entire executive branch’s cabinet wore pink for breast cancer awareness month.