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SSU vote to hike fees for student center challenged

The vote by Sonoma State University students to assess themselves $150 each semester to pay for a new student center is being challenged by students and faculty who opposed the fee.

A freshman who led the campaign against the fee is calling for an investigation into whether the election was correctly conducted.

Anthony Gallino said the "No" campaign was given unequal and insufficient access to resources that were supposed to be apportioned equally to both sides under the university's election rules.

"Towards the end of the election, I realized how unfair the campaign practices were," Gallino said.

He said he was given "everything I asked for" to run the "No" campaign, but was not fully informed how much was available. Also, he said, other sources of campaign funding were not disclosed to him.

Student leaders who campaigned for the fee increase said the allegations are unfounded.

"It was a fair election, anything and everything the students who were leading the opposition requested was provided," said Bridgette Dussan, president of the Associated Students Inc.

"There were no requests which were denied in regards to funds and publicity towards the opposition side," she said.

Students approved the fee by 59 percent to 41 percent in an April referendum. That paved the way for the university's auxiliary organizations, which are funded by student and faculty purchases and fees, to move forward with the $65 million student center project.

The Academic Senate is to vote Thursday on a resolution calling on the state university system to conduct an investigation into the election.


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