On Sept. 13-14, UTSA will ask students to vote for an increase of $20 to transportation fees. The last vote on transportation was held in March 2010, and it called for an increase in the transportation fee from $20 to $30. The new fee would have paid for additional shuttles and the added cost of gas.
A vote in favor of the transportation fee increase could provide a more efficient shuttle service, which would include improvements such as extended hours of operations for shuttles as well as the possibility of transit busses.
Transportation isn’t the only issue that UTSA students have been asked to vote on. In the past, students have voted to build a new Rec Center, to bring a football team to UTSA and to provide alcohol for sale at Chili’s Too.
The students voted in favor of all the above, but the outcome of the votes does not necessarily reflect student involvement in university matters.
The vote to establish a Rec Center in 1994 was fraught with controversy. The vote was presented three times, before it was approved, and Student Government decided not to work at the poll centers because they were given only a week’s notice about the vote and were not consulted on the ballot, voting locations or voting times.
The football vote was also presented multiple times, and the total number of students who voted was only 4,602, which, at the time, was 16 percent of the overall UTSA population.
The pattern of student voting on issues, regardless of importance, tends to be the same: somewhere between 10 and 20 percent. We hear complaints from the UTSA community only after voting is completed. Students write complaints on Facebook pages such as “Beer at Chili’s”.
It seems that if we really care we should vote. We should not wait until the matter is resolved to voice our opinions. Most importantly, we must not permit such a small percentage of the student population to decide what happens on our campus.