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SSU students approve fee hike to build student center

  • Architect's rendering of proposed student center at Sonoma State University. (SONOMA STATE UNIVERSITY ASSOCIATED STUDENTS INC.)

Correction: April 18, 2011

A story on April 14, 2011, about Sonoma State University said it was the first time students voted online. It was the first time students voted for a referendum online, but they previously voted for candidates online.


Sonoma State University will build a $65 million student center after students agreed to raise fees by $150 a semester.

Supporters say the time is right to build a centralized place for students to meet, study and attend events, and a venue for more student jobs.

But approval of the 100,000-square-foot student center has some students upset that they'll be paying more to attend college, despite cuts to classes and services and tough economic times.

The fee, which will be assessed on students for the next 30 years beginning in the fall of 2012, was approved on a 59 to 41 percent vote by students. About 37 percent of students voted.

“We had the highest amount of voter turnout that we ever had,” said Bridgette Dussan, president of the Associated Students Inc., the student government group that promoted the new fee. “There are endless benefits to the students that want this building.”

Currently, student activities are spread out and often held in rooms that can only hold up to 300 people, she said.

“I thought it was a great building to have on campus, and it's something that's necessary,” said Ricardo Rivas-Avalos, a junior. “We do need a place to go in-between classes.”

Additional funding will come from Associated Students, the student union, the housing department, and Sonoma State Enterprises. The project also calls for state university bonds to be issued, and the debt service for those bonds will be paid by those groups and the student fees.

But some students said the additional fee would hit low-income students hard, and would reduce minority enrollment in the school.

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