Tech students vote against engagement fee

Recently Louisiana Tech’s Student Government Association held its elections for the new SGA executive board and whether to implement the Student Engagement Fee. 

The main topic up for discussion on the ballot was whether the student body was in favor or against implementing the Student Engagement Fee, increasing tuition $150 each quarter starting in the fall. 

The fee proposed was to support under-served students, mental health, spirit groups, sports clubs, Greek Life, and athletics. The fee brought forth much controversy since $135 of the fee would be put toward Tech athletics. 

Louisiana Tech is the only Division I public institution in the state and the only member of Conference USA that does not have a student engagement fee that directly supports athletics. Currently, Tech students receive free admission into all University home athletic events.

The fee failed to pass and will not be implemented in the fall.

Emma Stone, a sophomore at Tech, said that she thought it was unfair to ask students to pay that much money when most of the money would not go to benefit the whole student body.

“I would vote yes if the money was proportionally allocated,” Stone said. “I believe those involved in athletics should pay the fee, as do people in sororities, for example.”

Skyla-Rae Lewis, a senior at Tech, echoed Stone’s sentiments that she would have voted yes if the fee had been more evenly distributed. She said it was disappointing that the money going toward mental health was so low while athletics was getting so much. 

“Personally, I voted no because majority of the money was going towards athletics, and I’m not involved in athletics or really go to any of the games,” Lewis said. “I feel like most of the athletic departments are well funded. I know not all of them are, but some are.”

There were some students who did believe the fee should have passed. Daniel Spencer, a graduate student at Tech, said that while he respected the reason students voted no, he believes this fee would have benefited students more than they realized, as he finds university success and athletic success to not be mutually exclusive. 

“Had this fee passed we could have been able to pay extremely underpaid trainers, nutritionists and assistants,” Spencer said. “All of these are important for building winning programs that people want to stay a part of and eventually lead to a growth in student population.”

Students also voted on the new SGA executive board. Elizabeth McKinney was elected president, Gabe Freeman was elected vice president, Jacob Thomas was elected treasurer and Gracey Avery was elected secretary.  

McKinney expressed how excited she is to be taking over the position as president next year.

“Becoming SGA president has been something I have worked towards since the beginning of sophomore year, and I am so excited to finally be able to take on this position,” McKinney said. “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to speak up for the student body in this capacity, and I cannot wait to see all the things we can make happen this year.”

McKinney also shared that while most of the positions for the SGA board ran unopposed this election brought forth the largest turnout of voters SGA has ever seen. 

“We had numbers that were unprecedented, and I am beyond proud of the student body for showing up to the polls and using their voice,” McKinney said.

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