USUAA works hard, but not nearly hard enough to deserve student fee bump

Arguably, for the first time in recent history, USUAA put on a dance that was worth attending.
The homecoming dance that was held on Oct. 3 was undoubtedly a success. The event was a sell out – with students lined up outside the Alaska Native Heritage Center, waiting to get into the dance the USUAA was responsible for hosting.
But we need more than just a few good dances before students will consider a fee increase.
Currently each student pays $1 per credit hour, starting at 3 credit hours and capping at $12. The recent USUAA elections had a referendum asking students to pick between three options: keeping the rate the same, increasing it to $2 per credit hour with a cap at $24 (effectively doubling the fee) or a flat rate fee of $12, regardless of credit hours.
USUAA said that they want to increase to fee to make sure that the programs they put on remain sustainable. While an admirable goal, USUAA should consider other options before a fee increase.
Mainly, not a student fee increase.
USUAA’s main focus needs to be advocating for student needs – not just putting on dances. Its main function is to serve as a voice of the students, as they are elected to be, and their focus needs to be as advocates. The greater outreach and truly understanding students needs and concerns needs to be their main goal. They need to act as the intermediate between the students and the entities that oversee the students and the UAA campus.
But as our nation slips into a recession and Alaska slowly begins to crunch its budgets everywhere, every entity needs to be ready and willing to cut – not increase.
But USUAA is doing well. They host late-night tutor sessions during finals week. They supply travel grants to students looking to study out of state. They do a solid job of advocating for students behalves – either in Juneau or at Board of Regents meetings.
They even put on dances that really are really popular.
But a fee increase, that’s definitely not popular.