The Board of Regents voted Monday to suspend the collection of a fee on all university students.
The $2-per-semester fee which funds the Arizona Students Association is tacked on to each student's tuition. Technically it's not mandatory. But opting out takes a written request within 21 days of start of class. Regent Jay Heiler said there had been ongoing concern about authorizing the tuition add-on amid questions of how the association, outside the control of the regents, was run. But then it was learned the association put $120,000 of student money into supporting Proposition 204 to create a permanent one-cent sales tax surcharge.
"When the 204 funding came along, that brought the matter into clear relief for everybody and forced it, really up near the top of the agenda for the regents in the sense that there's been a tremendous amount of discussion by the board ever since then," Heiler said.
Danielle Bryant, the association's secretary, said she sees a connection between the regents' action and her group's support of the initiative which failed amid heavy opposition from the governor and most Republican lawmakers.
"It could definitely be political," she said. "You could look at it and it's really easy to spin it that way, just because of everything that did happen with that campaign."
The regents will revisit the issue again in February and decide whether to allow the fee again in the fall and, if so, in what amount.