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The Mass Media

Message From The Student Government President

Fellow students, I ask for your support on my resolution to urge the State House to pass House Bill 2400. House Bill 2400 will replace current waiveable fees (which are automatically charged to your tuition bill unless you mark otherwise) to optional fees (in which permission must be granted first before it is charged onto your bill). This can be a bit confusing, so to clarify between the two systems, I have come up with an example of each. Under the current opt-out system “opt-out” in your essay, imagine if I ask you if I can have your money AFTER taking it out of your pocket. You would certainly be upset. Under the proposed opt-in system, I would be required to ask you for money BEFORE taking it from your pocket. In a similar situation, your IRS 1040, you have the option to opt-in to whether or not you want to donate to the Presidential Election Campaign – the IRS does not automatically charge this fee to your 1040, then ask you to opt-out. Even the federal government sees that the automatic fee system is UNFAIR.

One argument against my resolution has been that it is “undemocratic” for the state to “take away students rights to impose fees upon themselves.” That argument is fallacious. Students do not want to impose fees upon themselves. Furthermore, given the option of imposing non-mandatory fees upon themselves, students will choose a system that asks for permission first – an opt-in system. Not surprisingly, MassPIRG, the organization responsible for a $6 per semester opt-out fee on your tuition bill is fighting hard against my resolution. They are lobbying, lying, and twisting the merits of 2400 in the minds of your Student Senators – your elected representatives chosen to protect your interests within the University. While I support MassPIRG’s pro-environment and public interest activities, I do not support its willingness to cheat you of an opt-in system. The “big picture” is clear. As it stands, many students FORGET to opt-out. Perhaps you are one of these students. MassPIRG makes exorbitant amounts of money from students who forget.

While I will do my best to reach out to Senators who do not understand the merits of the bill and my reasons for supporting it, I have no patience for Senators who deliberately attack this worthy resolution on behalf of lobby groups who stand to benefit from an unfair opt-out system. I urge my Senators to study this issue based upon the merits of the bill. It is clear those Senators will be more prone to serving their own agenda than yours, and I will use my authority to veto any self-serving interest.

The senators who cried “undemocratic” are correct. However, the undemocratic actions are against YOU, the students. Please join me in my fight to help give you a fair opt-in system. Simply e-mail me your name, college, and zip code to sign a petition in support of Proposition 2400.

Tuan PhamStudent Government [email protected]