Representatives from Temple Student Government and Students for Environmental Action presented a mandatory green tax proposal to Temple’s fees committee in February. I would like to highlight a few things that everyone at Temple should be aware of.
”We do not pay tuition in order to financially advance a non-educational endeavor – whether it be economic or charitable or environmental. We pay tuition so that we may receive an education,” said a University of Florida student.
The decision to propose a mandatory green tax to the fees committee was based on a spurious mandate. Three thousand five hundred petition signatures don’t create a mandate for a student-driven tax hike at a university with more than 35,000 students enrolled. Furthermore if this fee is approved it will set a dangerous precedent for more fees to be imposed on students.
Temple students were not given the opportunity to vote for or against this proposal before it was presented to administrators. Why didn’t TSG and SEA have the political fortitude to let students vote for or against the proposal before it was presented to administrators?
TSG and SEA have not presented detailed spending proposals to Temple students or to Temple administrators. In order for lawmakers at a state level to propose a tax increase they must present a detailed spending plan. TSG and SEA should be required to present one-, five- and 10-year allocation projections. They have not done this.
The few proposals that TSG and SEA have made are Temple’s responsibility to handle. Temple students should not be forced to directly pay for light bulbs and other basic items. If these “green initiatives” will really save Temple so much money they shouldn’t have to impose a new fee to pay for them. They should project the savings and pay for the items out of the existing budget.
In a Nov. 30 “Letter to the Editor,” SEA claimed that this mandatory green fee will prevent tuition from rising in the future. There is absolutely no evidence of tuition rates being affected at colleges that have implemented green fees. Telling students to sign a petition based on this claim is disingenuous.
TSG and SEA do not desire accountability or efficiency with our money. If they did they would have proposed a voluntary fee and encouraged students to donate funds based on empirical results, not on platitudes and false information about tuition costs. Instead, they chose the easy route. They circumvented their responsibilities and resorted to coercive methods to obtain funds for their politically motivated pet projects.
Temple needs to put an end to this farce and reject the mandatory green tax proposal in favor of a voluntary fee. Students at Rutgers University voted for a voluntary fee to fund sustainability projects through the New Jersey Public Interest Group. For more information about the successfulness of student generosity at Rutgers University visit www.njpirgstudents.org/home.
TSG and SEA should have considered the Rutgers model instead of assuming their fellow Temple students would be too selfish to voluntarily donate funds towards sustainability.
Temple College Republicans