ASUC Senate to vote on adding student wellness referendum to April ballot

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The ASUC Senate will vote Wednesday on whether to add a wellness referendum, which would maintain Recreational Sports Facility services and expand mental health resources, to the ballot in April.

If the referendum were to pass, the new fees — which would be in place for 30 years — would promote student mental health by creating programs to support diversity and prevent sexual assault, expanding Tang Center services and funding relaxation spaces on campus. It would also replace RSF fees that are set to expire in the next two years.

Under this plan, optional RSF fees — which are currently $10 — would be reduced to $8.50 and would become part of the mandatory campus fee.

An additional $83.50, which reflects the current intramural sports facility and recreational sports fees, would also be included in campus fees for continued maintenance of the RSF. If these fees are not renewed, the RSF’s operating budget will be decreased by nearly 40 percent and will result in cuts to facility hours and services.

Finally, $54 would go toward funding mental health wellness programs. Overall, the wellness fee would amount to $146. One-third of all fees assessed will be returned to financial aid, in accordance with campus policy.

In May 2013, a student wellness referendum was nullified after the judiciary council found it was unconstitutionally added to the ballot by ASUC President Connor Landgraf.

While that referendum sought to build a new wellness facility, the current wellness referendum aims to fortify already existing institutions to improve conditions on campus, said Madison Gordon, ASUC senator and co-author of the bill. The referendum was submitted for approval to the ASUC Senate on Monday.

The referendum is a collaborative effort among ASUC senators, students from the Graduate Assembly, the director of University Health Services and the director of the RSF.

Under the referendum, mental health experts would be available to immediately assist students with emergency issues in all Tang Center care clinics. Tang Center hours would be extended on two weekdays to 8 p.m. and on weekends.

Additionally, funding would support space alteration and furnishings for expanded fitness services, relaxation, yoga and meditation. Health classes and sexual assault prevention and support programs, as well as diversity student wellness programs, would also be created.

The wellness programs would be held accountable through a wellness fee advisory committee, and a sustainability director would be in charge of keeping costs for students low through creative initiatives such as fundraising and lobbying for funds.

“We’ve been really transparent and tried to engage with everyone since we started the referendum last October,” said ASUC Senator Dree Kavoussi, who co-authored the referendum. “We took senators’ opinions to heart, and it’s structured around what student input has been.”


Contact Jamie Nguyen at [email protected].

Due to misinformation from a source, a previous version of this article said if the referendum were to pass, the Tang Center would be open on weekends until 7 p.m. In fact, the authors of the referendum have not yet determined what the Tang Center’s exact weekend hours would be.