Types of Campus-Based Fee Referenda
There are two ways for a campus-based fee to be established or increased via referendum:
(1) Initiated by a campus unit through campus executive management approval.
The Campus Guidelines for Establishing, Increasing, Reducing or Eliminating Campus-Based Fees are mandatory for campus units seeking to initiate or increase a compulsory campus-based fee. Campus units must carefullt follow the Campus Guidelines in order to obtain approval for a fee.
(2) Initiated by students or student organizations through the ASUC and its election practices.
The Campus Guidelines are advisory to students and the ASUC, which is governed by its own election policies (see, in particular, ASUC Bylaws, Title IV, Article VII-Propositions). If the Campus Guidelines are disregarded by students or the ASUC, however, the fees may or may not be recommended for approval to the Chancellor and/or the President and the Regents. It is particularly important to adhere to the provisions concerning ballot content, clarity of language, adherence to campus and University policies, and voter information and education.
Goals of the Referendum Process
The goals that guide the referendum process are:
- To ensure compliance with Campus and University policies
- To foster the widest possible discussion and debate in an effort to create a wellinformed voting population
- To achieve the broadest possible consultation among both students and the appropriate campus units during all phases of planning and implementation of the fee.
Student representation is required during the planning, election, implementation and oversight of a fee. Sponsors are required to establish and convene a student advisory board or committee that includes representation from student constituency groups and meets several times a year throughout the duration of the fee. At a minimum, the committee must include representatives from the CSF (Committee on Student Fees), the ASUC, and the Graduate Assembly.
A fee proposal is a working document that includes the complete text of a fee referendum, the ballot language, and the marketing plan and its budget. The sponsors must present their fee proposal to the SFRC and also may be asked to share their fee proposal with units who may be affected by the fee and/or student groups for input. Fee proposals are accepted by March 1 for department-initiated referenda and by November 1 for student initiated referenda.
Sample Fee Proposal Outline from the Campus Guidelines
Passing a Referendum
The population eligible to vote in a referendum consists of the registered students who belong to the segment of the population (e.g. undergraduate, graduate or both) that would be required to pay the fee. In order for any fee referendum to pass, a minimum of 20% of registered students (based on the campus’ official census for that semester) eligible to vote must vote on the referendum, and a simple majority of those voting (50% plus one) must approve the proposed fee. Abstentions are not included in the count of the number of students voting on the referendum.
Throughout the duration of the fee, the sponsors are expected to report annually on the use of fees at the close of each spring semester. Below are the most recent required annual reports for mandatory student fees passed by referendum:
Examples of even more detailed annual reports for mandatory student fees can be found at these links:
Recent Student Fee Referenda
Student Technology Fee: A student-initiated and sponsored fee approved by ASUC election in Spring 2014. The fee is $51/semester and will provide funding for the University to negotiate with software providers on behalf of students to continue to provide free and reduced-rate software.
- Student Technology Fee Referendum (includes ballot language, detailed fee information, and background)
The Wellness and Recreation Fee: A fee approved by ASUC election in Spring 2013. The fee is currently $40.00/semester, financing the construction of a new Memorial Stadium Fitness Center, eliminating a $10/semester RecSports membership fee, and later on (2016 and 2017, respectively), funding expenses currently supported by the Recreational Sports Fee and Intramural Sports Fee.
- Wellness and Recreation Fee Referendum (includes ballot language, detailed fee information, and background)
The V.O.I.C.E. Initiative: A student-initiated and sponsored fee approved by ASUC election in Spring 2012. The fee is $2/semester, and will fill nearly half of The Daily Californian's ongoing deficit and allow the paper to avoid cutting additional days of print.
- V.O.I.C.E. Initiative (includes ballot language, detailed fee information, and background)
The B.E.A.R.S. Initiative Referendum (Lower Sproul) Fee: A student-initiated and sponsored fee approved by ASUC election in Spring 2010. The fee, currently $35.00/semester, will support the redesign, renovation, and replacement of student services facilities surrounding Lower Sproul Plaza.
- B.E.A.R.S. Referendum (includes ballot language, detailed fee information, and background)
- Overview of B.E.A.R.S. Project Scope
The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF) Fee: A student-initiated and sponsored fee approved by ASUC election in Spring 2007. The fee is currently $5.50/semester and supports a grant-making fund for sustainability projects on UC Berkeley's campus. The proceeds of the fee provide approximately $250,000 per year in grants available to students, faculty, and staff who submit successful sustainability proposals.
- ASUC Bill Approving TGIF Fee for Referendum (includes final ballot language)
- Overview of TGIF Fee (as presented in 2007, in accordance with ASUC bill and TGIF Bylaws)
- TGIF Bylaws (updated May 2009)
Class Pass (AC Transit) Fee: A campus unit-initiated and sponsored fee from Parking & Transportation approved by student fee referendum election in Spring 2006 (as a renewal of a previously-approved Class Pass Fee in 1999).
- Final ballot language for Class Pass Referendum
- Committee on Student Fees Voter Guide for Class Pass Referendum
- Election Verification Form for Class Pass Referendum
- Election Manager Report for Class Pass Referendum
The Class Pass referendum was renewed in Spring 2013. Final ballot language, history, and fee details for the 2013 renewal are available here.
Campus Health Care Fee: A campus unit-initiated and sponsored fee from University Health Services approved by student fee referendum election in Spring 2005.