AS fee split from student ID fee, Blue Bus still needs ID fee

When the Associated Students board pressed Vice President of Student Affairs Mike Tuitasi on the specifics of the budget behind the $13 student ID card fee on Monday, he said “I do not know the cost.” He clarified his presence saying, “I was asked to come in and answer questions and that’s what I’m doing today.”

Tuitasi made an appearance at this week's AS meeting to speak to the board and elaborate the details behind the separation of the student ID card fee with that of the AS membership fee.

He stated early into his visit that both fees are now independently separate, and that the Bursar’s Office can be contacted if students do not wish to pay either fee. He even said that students will be able to claim a refund for any of the two fees.

After the announcements, Tuitasi went on to indicate that Big Blue Bus will still want students to carry current ID cards in order to prove enrollment. Director of Budget Management Inayat Issa asked, “So you still have to pay the $13 in order to ride the Big Blue Bus, right?” After Tuitasi confirmed Issa’s question, Issa said, “I thought that’s what we were fighting.”

AS President Ty Moura asked Tuitasi, “Why do students need to pay a fee to prove they are enrolled, rather than have their card activated when they pay enrollment and tuition?” Tuitasi answered that question by stating that the student ID card is necessary for immediate verification of enrollment.

Director of Student Advocacy Hasun Khan brought up other issues concerning the fee to Tuitasi, saying “Pasadena City, Orange Coast College, or even Rio Hondo have programs where they have students able to ride the bus for free, but they don’t have the $13 ID fee that we have to fall in the compliance of.” Khan further asked, “Is there any way we can look at the activation fee.”

In response to this, Tuitasi pointed out that University of California, Los Angeles has a deal with Big Blue Bus set up with with a similar transportation system in which students ride for free and that cost is split between the district and the AS.

Tuitasi further pointed out that the student ID fee was $8 until the AS board of 2008 raised it to the current $13 fee. Issa asked Tuitasi why students have to pay that fee as opposed to the $3 he claimed it really cost.

When faced with questions on specific costs and budgeting surrounding the student ID fee, Tuitasi stated that Director of Fiscal Services Chris Bonvenuto would have to be present to answer those questions, causing the AS board to delay their official stance on the issue another week.

With other agenda items, the AS saw success over the weekend at the Student Senate for California Community Colleges with Inter-Club Council Communications Officer Sarah Yoseph successfully passing a resolution for schools to include a prayer and meditation area for students to practice their religion or meditations freely and comfortably.

SMC’s current designated meditation and prayer space is currently located in the basement of the Science building. Once current construction projects are completed, the AS will look into more suitable areas for those students in need of a space.

Also, the ICC will have to take another look into their approval processes for club giveaways as the Japanese English Language Association was caught and immediately stopped from giving out bagged live goldfish.