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Online voting for Falcon Center segregated fee wraps up

March 3, 2015

This week, students at UW-River Falls were able to vote on a proposed segregated fee for the Falcon Center.

Each student received an email early Tuesday morning, with a link to FalconSync, where the voting took place. Voting closed at 11:45 p.m. on March 5.

The proposed segregated fee that was passed by the Student Senate would be introduced at $175 for the next academic year, being split between the two semesters, and would rise to $200 in the fall of 2016.

Past students voted to approve the fee to build the $60 million Falcon Center, and even contributed to the new facility then, with a different segregated fee. This new, proposed segregated fee will only go towards the operation of the Falcon Center.

“This fee is going to be for staffing the building, and fund the programs that are going to be in the [Falcon Center],” said Anthony Sumnicht, Senate president.

Sumnicht also said that the vast majority of the proposed fee would go towards the staffing aspect of the Falcon Center. If there were any scheduled increase in this fee, it would have to be reviewed by Senate.

“It is important that students voice their views on the proposed segregated fee to support the Falcon Center,” said Chancellor Dean Van Galen, in an email. “The UW System and the Board of Regents will certainly consider the results of the vote when this comes before them later this year.”

Students that aren’t going to be around before the completion of the Falcon Center still play an important part in the voting of this segregated fee. Past students voted on the University Center, and had a segregated fee to fund the facility much like the Falcon Center.

“Even if current students will have graduated prior to the opening of the Falcon Center, they have a strong interest in the future of UWRF and students who will follow them,” Van Galen said.

Sumnicht said that Senate is expecting at least 2,000 students to take part in the vote. Van Galen also mentioned that he thinks that there will be a good turnout for the vote.

“The Falcon Center will positively impact academics, athletics and recreation on our campus, and I anticipate strong student interest and turnout,” Van Galen said.

Even if there is a poor turnout for the vote, the segregated fee will still move forward, but that would make it extremely difficult to move this from UWRF to the state level.

“The project and the fee has to be approved by the Board of Regents of the UW System, and they have been very critical of referendums in the past,” Sumnicht said. “Especially if they have a low turnout or there’s not a strong ‘yes’ vote.”

Sumnicht said that it’s very important for students to voice their opinion and vote, because of the criticism from the Board of Regents.

“Past students paid for the University Center, even though they didn’t get to use it, and it’s more of an investment for the university as a whole,” Sumnicht said. “Previous students made that decision for current students to use that facility, and we’re asking students to do the same now.”

Senate had students promoting the Falcon Center in the University Center during the week, as well as having students at intramurals and open-gym to get the word out to as many students as possible.