ASG accused of approving parking fee increase

The Associated Student Government came under fire recently when a student group called the Coalition for Democratic Education sent out an email claiming that the ASG had approved a parking pass fee increase.

The ASG said it is discussing the need for an increase, but doesn’t have the power to enact one. Only the Governing Board has that power.

The email was sent to The Telescope and ASG members in the form of a press release. The email began by explaining that a silent protest by the Coalition occurred during the Oct. 17 ASG meeting. The email
said more than 60 students participated and most wore gags over their mouths that read, “No vote, no voice.”

In continuation of that theme, the Coalition claimed the ASG approved a 25 percent parking fee increase. They pointed to documents from a Student Services Planning Council Meeting on May 9 that said “ASG reported that the students are well aware of California’s economic problems and therefore they have approved this (parking) increase.”

The original proposal was that student parking pass would go from $40 to $50 per semester starting in
Spring 2013, but ASG officials said that the soonest it would be implemented is Summer 2013.

Former ASG member Tylor Ellard was the one who brought the report to the SSPC meeting and said he did not say the ASG had approved the increase and that what he said must have been misinterpreted.

Current ASG President Johnathan Farmer said the ASG has no power to make a decision as big as approving a parking permit fee increase. As soon as Farmer got the email, he said he replied to the Coalition and CC’ed the members and advisers of the ASG and invited the Coalition to attend the ASG meeting the next day because discussion of the parking fee increase was already on the agenda. Farmer said the agenda went out the Friday before the meeting and the timing of the email was a complete

He also compiled a list of every mention of a possible parking fee increase from ASG agendas since February. Nowhere in any of the mentions does it say that the ASG approved a parking fee increase. The only mention close to what the Coalition claimed was in the May 2 minutes, where it said “(Brady/Torres) moves to say that the ASG doesn’t like to see fee increases, but understands the necessity of a small increase.”

At the Oct. 24 ASG meeting, no members of the Coalition attended. However, ASG members discussed the email and what their response should be. They also discussed the silent protest and said they didn’t understand what Coalition members were protesting.

“We have to deal with what’s in front of us,” Senator Dale Thorp said. “We as students don’t want a parking fee increase. The Coalition is not student-led.”

Another ASG senator said the coalition members should communicate with the ASG.

“They’re getting students’ attention, but at no point in time has anyone approached the ASG about these issues,” Vice President Angel Jimenez said.

Jimenez and Thorp attended the Coalitions’ next official meeting, but according to Farmer, only adviser Daniel Finkenthal was there.

Farmer said Thorp would look into the parking fee increase policy, but there is no surety that the fee increase will even move forward.

“It’s hard for us to fight something that’s not even definitive,” he said.   

Author: Kaity Bergquist

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