SGA extends referendum vote

A vote has opened on Appalnet for students to voice their opinion on a 24/5 library hour referendum. The vote is open through Sunday. Photo by Malik Rahili  |  The Appalachian
Students can vote through Sunday on a 24/5 library referendum that Appalachian State University’s Student Government Association has put on Appalnet.

At their meeting Tuesday night, the senate voted to extend the time of the voting, which was set to end Friday, due to difficulties at the start of voting Monday.

Students can vote for or against a referendum in favor of paying $10 more in tuition in order to reinstate the “24/5 library hours” that were cut during the 2011-2012 academic year due to budget restraints.

SGA President Dylan Russell said that students voting on the referendum will help make a powerful statement to administration that there is a need for the change in library hours.

“What it does is it gives us a little bit of ammo if you will,” Russell said. “The more students that vote the more powerful our statement is when we go to the administration.”

SGA’s director of academic affairs Arianna Bonner said that the association is trying to find out if students want the $10 increase in tuition in order to have the library open 24 hours a day, five days a week.

“It is necessary for the university to provide the means for students to have to study and to research to do the things they need to do to make the grades they need to make to stay at this university,” Bonner said.

Russell said that the $10 would be added to students’ tuition, which creates a problem because President Thomas Ross of the UNC system has mandated that there be no tuition increases.

“If the student body really wants this, we should have numbers of upward of 50 percent of the student body voting,” Russell said. “The ball is in the students’ court, it’s time for the students to decide do we want this enough that we want to go take the time to vote on Appalnet for it.”

SGA’s director of legislative operations John Secrest said that the association has been working on the referendum since 2011 when the 24/5 library service was cut.

Secrest said that since then the association has deemed the 24/5 service “essential to the academic well-being of students here at Appalachian.”

“Administrators have held the position that the service was underutilized and thus not worth the cost while other programs are also being looked at to be discontinued,” Secrest said. “Jake Cox formed an ad hoc exploratory committee to look at the issue more in-depth and found that students were open to the idea of funding the library with a student fee.”

Secrest said he drafted the referendum to gauge student interest.

“The intent of Student Government is to persuade administrators that this service is something that students are asking for and are willing to fund it by instituting a fee that they themselves would pay,” Secrest said. “With a referendum we can show administrators quantitative data of support for this service that many have missed these past few years.”

Story: JOSHUA FARMER, Managing EditorSTEPHANIE SANSOUCY, News Editor
Photo: MALIK RAHILI, Head of Production and Design

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