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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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GSC votes to support

Texas A&M’s Graduate Student Council (GSC) passed a resolution Tuesday that supported the student service fee increase for next fall.
The Student Service Fees Advisory Board’s (SSFAB) proposed fee increase of 65 cents is 12 cents above the state cap of $150. Because the proposal is above the cap, state law requires that the issue be sent to a referendum for the students to vote whether to accept the recommendation.
The SSFAB also has to present the recommendation to the Student Senate and GSC. The Student Senate did not support the proposal, but did decide to host the referendum.
“I think that what graduate students showed today by approving the Student Service Fees Advisory Board’s recommendation is that they recognize the value that the student fees provide,” said Josh Peschel, president of the GSC.
With very little debate, the council passed the proposal, 19 to 11. Some commented that the debate that did take place was superfluous because they already knew what their constituents desired.
Robin Cappel, chair of the SSFAB, came prepared with a presentation that resolved the majority of concerns for those present.
Cappel said it is not just a fee increase benefitting the undergraduate benefit graduates, such as an increase in the number of employment positions available to graduates and increased funding for the child care center.
Cappel also brought to light the fact that the student service fees have not been increased in at least two years, and this proposed increase is smaller than previous increases.
“We typically increase the fee an average 8 or 9 percent per year, so this recommendation is lower than normal,” Cappel said. “This recommendation was submitted the week after Thanksgiving break, so it came long before (A&M President Robert M.) Gates’ announcements of tuition increases.”
Last year, the proposed fee increase overwhelmingly failed in referendum. Organizations and University departments would have to cut programs and faculty if the recommendation does not pass in referendum, Cappel said.
“I’m disappointed that GSC has voted to endorse this Student Service Fee bloatfest, especially in light of the recently announced tuition increases,” said Matthew Wilkins, speaker of the Student Senate. “But I am confident that the student body will soundly reject it in the referendum.”
Student Senate rejected the recommendation last Wednesday because they did not support it going above the state cap. The bill to support the recommendation failed 24 to 21, as it did not reach a two-thirds majority.
“I am not questioning Senate policy because they are a separate body, but you have to look at the actual numbers in support of the recommendation in the senate to approve,” Peschel said.
The Student Service Fee cap increase recommendation will be presented on the spring election ballots.students. Multiple line items direct

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