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ASU productively utilizes activity fee money

More than $32,000 spent to boost service

By Rodney Woodson, editor-in-chief
On February 19, 2013

"The ASU needs to put up a big poster - they need to put the waiver on the website and send students emails," Contra Costa College student Darren Turner said on Oct. 22 one day after being informed of the fee and waiver.
Apparently the ASU took heed to his remark. Prior to the first day of instruction for spring 2013, the student government  group sent out multiple email blasts about the fee. Now, the waiver is on the college's website and yes, there are big posters and fliers scattered around campus.
Beginning in spring 2012 the optional $5 student activity fee was enforced, charging students a handful of bills for student representation by the student governments across campuses in the district.
"We've done a lot of marketing and preparation," Student Life Coordinator Kelly Ramos said. "We sent out three or four email blasts about the activity fee and waiver and mentioned other fees."
The fee is one that can be waived only within the first two weeks of instruction each semester by completing a fee waiver form and returning it to the Student Life Office.
As of fall 2012 there were plenty of students at Contra Costa, Diablo Valley and Los Medanos colleges who were oblivious of the waiver form, the fee and the purpose of the fee.
Fliers and large posters can be found in various places where students tend to congregate, such as the Bookstore and the Student Services Center. Fliers and posters can also be found on various bulletin boards around campus and lawn signs explaining the fee and waiver are visible as well.
On the fliers and posters, the activity fee itself is explained as well as what the funds have been spent on thus far and that students have the option to waive the charge, and where to obtain the waiver.
The activity fee brought roughly $46,000 to the ASU from last spring. Of that amount, the ASU has spent more than $32,000 of that revenue for various student services.
Revenue from the activity fee has provided $7,000 for bus passes and gas cards for the Emergency Transportation Program through Single Stop, $10,000 for scholarships and $15,000 to the College Bookstore's book rental program to lower the rental price of textbooks.
ASU President Jazmine Ramezanzadeh said the ASU is focused on using the fee to further assist students.
"We are encouraging students to come in (to the Student Life Office)," she said. "We need student input on what they need. We have started an ASU Grant for Support Request form to reach out to different departments and programs to assist different students needs."
The grant request forms can be found in the Student Life Office. The purpose of the form is to provide departments, clubs and programs a means of funding for student activities that may be needed.
Districtwide, the fee brought in roughly $200,000. Chapter 4.3 of the Student Fee Handbook states that a mandatory student activity fee is not permissible, however, an optional student activity fee can be put in place as long as it is thoroughly explained.
The student fee handbook does not have language regarding the refunding of student activity fees. District Vice Chancellor John al-Amin said as long as the funds are being spent properly, however, the district will not move forward on issuing refunds or halting the fee.
"This was agreed upon," he said. "Once it's done, it's a done deal. As long as funds are being used accordingly (the district) does not have to return the funds. If at any point they aren't being used properly then action will be taken."
Al-Amin said the accumulated funds and expenditures are being overseen at the district level, however, each ASU and Student Life Coordinator is responsible for overseeing the funds at each of the district's three colleges.
"I'm going to make sure we work with them and monitor the spending, making sure the students get the programs they paid for," he said.
"(The fee) is supposed to benefit the campus community as a whole."

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