The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

Referendum for increased student Chinook fee passes ASWSU senate

Referendum comes as a result of reduced student enrollment, increased salary rates
Communication department director Cooper Howe and deputy director Nicole Allison reviewing social media activity for the past month

ASWSU approved a referendum to increase the student Chinook fee at Wednesday’s meeting as a result of efforts to combat reduced student enrollment in recent years.

Referendum 53-01, penned by senator Isaac Velazquez, said the existing mandatory Chinook student fee is no longer sufficient to sustain existing service levels, due to decreased student enrollment and increased minimum wage and salary rates.

The existing fee is currently $98 per semester for full-time undergraduate students, Velazquez said. The fee would increase to $103 for the fall and spring semesters for full-time students, and from $59 to $62 for the summer for students enrolled in 3 or more credits.

The mandatory fee has not been increased since the Chinook first opened in the 2017-2018 academic year, Velazquez said. Due to decreased student enrollment, the Chinook will collect $610,922 less in the 2023-2024 year than the first year it was open.

The referendum was unanimously approved by the senate and will now be sent to the judicial board for review, Vice President Maccabee Werndorf said. After that, it will come back to the senate to be placed on the election ballot and voted on by the student body. Students will be able to vote on the referendum alongside choosing candidates running for the positions of president, vice president and senator.

At least 20% of the student body will need to vote in favor of the referendum before it can be formally adopted, Valezquez said. The referendum states that if implemented, it will also be able to be increased no more than 5% annually via ASWSU and student body approval.

Senators also heard from Aurelia Cromwell, Veterans and Military Affiliated Students Committee chair. Cromwell said the VMAS board would like to change their official name to reflect their status as a student-centered committee, and would like to instead be referred to as the Students Veterans and Military Affiliated Committee. The name change will need to be proposed by a senator in order to officially be adopted.

Communication department director Cooper Howe and deputy director Nicole Allison also provided senators with a content recap of the past month at the meeting. Through the use of TikTok and Instagram, ASWSU was able to reach 7,000 accounts and made 38,000 impressions, Howe said.

There were also posts on both the Instagram and TikTok account posted to recap the events of Coug Day, Howe said, resulting in at least 1,400 new user profile visits. The team also made posts on Instagram regarding the election calendar and a guide for how to declare candidacy for ASWSU positions.

The declaration of candidacy period for ASWSU ended on Tuesday, and the department of communication team is now planning to promote the upcoming election and showcase candidates on the social media accounts, Allison said.

All candidates are running unopposed, so the electoral debates have been turned into public Q&A sessions, said Senate Pro Tempore Tania Henriques. The first session will be held at 6 p.m. on Feb. 15 in CUB 204.

ASWSU meets at 5:30 p.m every Wednesday in CUB 204.

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About the Contributors
MUSFIRAH KHAN, Evergreen reporter
Musfirah Khan is a junior from Seattle, Washington studying multimedia journalism. She started working for the Evergreen in spring 2023.
MADDY RICE, Evergreen photographer
Maddy Rice is a photographer for the Daily Evergreen. Originally from White Center, Washington, she is a sophomore majoring in Business Managment, with a minor in Sports Managment. Maddy began working for the Daily Evergreen in the Fall of 2023.