The New USU Board of Directors will have to work extra hard to convince students of the need for a new student union if a recent poll is any indication of what could happen in March.
The debate over the New USU intensified over the weekend just as campaigning officially began for Associated Students Inc. offices. The unofficial poll popped up last Friday on a Facebook page that draws hundreds of Fresno State students to discuss topics and issues at the university.
By Sunday night, the poll had garnered much attention and led to several students voicing their opinions for and against the project. Former students also use the Facebook page, but several poll voters identified themselves as current students.
More than 300 people said they did not support the project. Nearly 140 said they do. Officially, the Fresno State Book Trade and Advice page has a membership of more than 13,000 people.
Among several options the students chose to vote for in the poll was an In-n-Out on campus. But the tension over the proposed new student union building is neither new nor is it one that goes away easy.
Last spring, students voted down a similar project in the Bold New U. After fierce debate online and in a student forum hosted by The Collegian, the referendum for the Bold New U suffered a loss at the polls.
More than 1,800 students voted against the Bold New U compared to a little more than 1,200 students who voted to support the project last year, according to official numbers provided by ASI.
Immediately following the defeat of the Bold New U, there was speculation that a similar project would be revived. And now, the low support for the New USU in one unofficial poll could be a sign of things to come.
If the New USU is approved, a $149 student fee will be implemented once the building is complete in about five years, according to NewStudentUnion.com. The same website states that Fresno State has the lowest student fees in the California State University system and that the fee will be added to the student’s Cost of Attendance when they are considered for financial aid eligibility.
Students have repeatedly stated that they wish to see the campus’ most basic services renovated instead of constructing a new building and raising student fees. Advocates of the project argue that those renovations are set to take place and will be completed using funds already set aside.
The USU Board of Directors is hosting a forum Monday to discuss the New USU from noon to 1 p.m. in the Bulldog Zone, in the lower section of the University Student Union.
This week ASI kicked off the official campaigning season for candidates running for office. Among the candidates, four students are vying for president.
Elections for president, vice president, senate candidates and the New USU referendum will be held on campus and online starting March 20 to March 22.