If you have any questions:
Please feel free to contact me at (702) 895 -5706 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Good luck on Finals, Rebels
Student Body President
Response to recent Rebel Yell Article: http://www.unlvrebelyell.com/2014/05/08/csun-member-justices-made-homophobic-sexist-remarks-about-former-officials-at-inauguration-party/
This is the last time I will address you as your student body president. I want to let you know that it has been an honor serving you in this position during the past two years, and in the Senate prior to that.
I have long believed that the past two years have been two of the most productive in CSUN’s history, and I wanted you – the students my team and I have represented – to know what we accomplished during our tenure.
Many students don’t know or care about their student government, but I can assure you that if run properly, it can be an incredible resource, an invaluable advocate, and a productive organization working to benefit your educational experience and campus life.
This is one of the toughest, yet most rewarding, jobs I’ve ever had – and that’s saying something for a 39-year old. However, I’m happy to have had the opportunity to help so many students along the way, and to make lifelong friendships with so many of the amazing people that make up our student body.
If you’d like to know exactly what I have done on your behalf during the past two years, I have included the information below along with the names of those who helped make each accomplishment possible.
If you ever need anything, please contact me directly at: email@example.com or via text at 702.289.8592. I will still be attending UNLV, and will happily help any student with any issue.
Thank you for allowing me to serve you,
PS: GO REBELS!!
Tuition & Fees
Fixing CSUN and Protecting Your Money
I am deeply sorry for the inappropriate behavior that resulted in my ejection from the UNLV/UNR basketball game in Reno last weekend. My actions did not reflect who I am or meet the high standards that I expect of myself or that should be expected of a student body president.
I regret that my actions reflect poorly upon the University and those who chose to put their trust in me. I have learned from this humbling experience and look forward to moving beyond it with a renewed focus on positively representing our students and this University.
Since we don’t know what this means yet, please keep your comments coming so I can share them with the president (and keep your information private).
This Monday at 10:00am in the UNLV President’s Conference Room (FDH 7th Floor), UNLV’s Special Fee Committee will meet to decide whether to approve or deny proposed new fees for students.
Two weeks ago, the committee met and saw more than a dozen items — thankfully resulting in no new fees for students.
This Monday, we might not be so fortunate.
As the only student representative on this committee, speaking on behalf of 25,000 undergraduate students, I need your help to stop these fees from being approved.
Fee #1: Athletics proposed $1,000,000 fee increase
Currently, Athletics receives $4.35 per credit out of the $173 Student Life Facilities Fee you pay – which doesn’t include the millions of dollars they receive from ticketing and merchandise, or private donors. They are asking for an increase of $1.90 — which, if applied this year, would be an additional $988,000 put on the backs of students. (That’s like funding a second student government, as our fee is just $1.97 per credit)
Fee #2: A 2% credit card convenience fee
This new fee would charge students who pay their tuition and fees with a credit or debit card a 2% surcharge. We’ve been told that the average student payment is roughly $900 (this would result in an additional $18). But if you’re one of the students who pays your $2,600 bill with a credit or debit card, you will pay an additional $52 — just to pay your bill.
This fee would also be charged to any students paying with a credit or debit card in person.
The only way to avoid this fee is to pay via check (or e-check online).
Please email your thoughts on these new fees to: firstname.lastname@example.org, send a Facebook message to the CSUN Facebook page (“UNLV Student Body” / facebook.com/unlvcsun), or text me at 702.289.8592, and I will forward your concerns to the entire Special Fee Committee. I promise to keep your personal information confidential.
Students must speak out if we have a chance of stopping these fees on Monday.
Also, please feel free to show up to the meeting Monday morning, 10:00am, in the President’s Conference Room (FDH 7th Floor). While it is not an open meeting, even though I believe it should be, they will have no choice but to listen to you.]]>
1. With the opening of the UNLV Transit Center – which robbed students of 60 much-needed parking spaces – the RTC’s bus to Sam Boyd Stadium created a duplication of efforts. We felt that we should not spend $15,000 in student fees running private buses while the RTC bus was available. However, CSUN was still prepared to pay the $2 fee each way for students who wanted to attend football games. We did this for the first game on September 7, 2013.
2. After two weeks of attempting to work with RTC to provide a way for CSUN to pay the $2 fare for students taking the bus to Sam Boyd, RTC was unable or unwilling to do so. The best offer they gave us was purchasing $5 daily residential bus passes for each student in batches of 100 – a $1 overcharge for round-trip students and a $3 overcharge for students who don’t make the return trip. Roughly half of the students who take the bus to the game do not make the return trip.
3. For the first football game, to honor our promise to students, our Senate President Jasmine Hicks withdrew $1,300 of her own money from the bank to pay for students to ride the bus. For her efforts, UNLV has made it difficult for her to receive a reimbursement for this and has told her that while they would reimburse her this time, using her cash in the future would not be reimbursed – removing yet another option.
4. The RTC bus to Sam Boyd starts two hours before game time and takes roughly 30 minutes. Students who take the first bus have only one hour of tailgating time, as our tailgate must be dismantled 30 minutes prior to the start of the game. Students who take the 2nd bus would have only 30 minutes of tailgating time, and students who take later buses would have no time to tailgate. This, combined with the unfriendly tailgate policies instituted by UNLV, Sam Boyd, and Athletics, has led us to the difficult decision of discontinuing tailgates as well. Requests to allow students entry to tailgates using their Rebel Cards instead of game tickets have been denied. Requests to provide students with a discounted rate from that of the general public for entering the tailgate in a vehicle have been denied. As most of you are probably aware, entering the tailgate with a vehicle is the only way for any fan to bring alcoholic beverages into the tailgate area – even for fans who are over 21.
5. This past Wednesday morning, we met with Athletics to inform them of our decision. They asked us to wait until the end of the day so they could try to work out a better arrangement with RTC. We appreciate the effort made by interim Athletics Director Tina Kunzer-Murphy. However, at the end of the day we were told that RTC would sell us $4 daily passes if we would purchase passes for the entire season, and do so within 24 hours. This still did not address the students who do not return on the bus, which would cost CSUN (your student fees) $2 per student. This still represents an overcharge, and therefore was not a viable solution. It is difficult to believe that RTC is unable to provide a way for CSUN to pay for the actual ridership of students, but that is the current situation.
CSUN has spent countless hours over the past few weeks trying to work with RTC on a viable solution, without success – even though we would be driving roughly $10,000 in additional revenues to the transit center during football season.
CSUN has also spent time working with Athletics on policy changes that would improve the tailgating experience for students and non-students alike. For two years those efforts have failed.
For these reasons, we feel we have no choice at this point but to save students the $22,000 budgeted for this program and put that money into events surrounding the Runnin’ Rebels basketball season and two Rebel Road Trips that will take place during basketball season.
We hope you understand that we were left with no other options. Students deserve better than to be taken advantage of. While we appreciate the time RTC and Athletics spent working with us on this issue, it simply wasn’t good enough.
We still support our Rebels Football team, and wish them the best success this year. This is not an attempt to sabotage football, UNLV Athletics, or the RTC. We simply have to make the decisions necessary to properly represent students and their funds. With roughly 10% of students attending the first game using the RTC bus, we feel that this will not interfere with students’ ability to attend the games.
If you have any questions, please contact CSUN Marketing Director Tom McAllister at: email@example.com]]>
Back in February, I posted about the state of parking on campus – from a student’s perspective. A former College of Liberal Arts advisor (who left UNLV to work at UNR) claimed that parking is always an empty promise for CSUN, and has been for seven years. While lots of people make empty promises – mostly candidates running for CSUN offices – I pointed out how much work we had done with parking on behalf of students. You can read that here.
But that was my first term, and on May 1st, I began a second term full of new promises to continue working on these issues for students. That brings us to today.
Thirty minutes after I was sworn in I met with the Director of Parking Services, Tad MacDowell. I laid out several ongoing concerns – many of which I had brought to him several times before. Much of this conversation revolved around the state of student parking with regards to the transit center and lack of convenient parking spaces. I explained that many of the staff spaces in LOT H (the spots behind the transit center construction zone) were left empty all day, while students struggled to find parking. Once again, I proposed flipping low-use staff spaces into student spaces. Quickly, Tad made a phone call and ordered reports on staff use in those spaces for the following week – reported hourly.
As a result, I’m happy to report that TWELVE staff spaces have been returned to the students in LOT H!
Then, this past Monday I met with Tad again and learned that SIXTEEN staff spaces had been flipped to student spaces along the fence between LOT M and LOT N. This is a line of spaces in the triangle between the Intramural Field, Thomas & Mack, and the lot behind the library.
So, today students have 28 more parking spaces than the last time I posted, and 12 of them are behind the transit center. It’s a small victory, but we’ll take it!
As always, if you have questions about this – or any other issue – don’t hesitate to contact me at Mark.Ciavola@unlv.edu or (702) 289-8592.]]>
Students will be chosen weekly for group lunches. This is open to all undergraduate students. If you have questions, email me directly at: Mark.Ciavola@unlv.edu.
Over 80 students have participated so far, and more than 500 have registered! This project was also featured in the Rebel Yell.
Click here to enter!
*Note: CSUN student fees will not be used for this project.]]>
Everything you need to know about parking issues from a student perspective – including today’s surprise.
New Staff Parking?
If you arrived at school today only to find the sacred student parking spaces behind Aloha Kitchen being flipped into new staff parking spots, you were not alone. The staff parking from the lot directly north of this lot (the one behind In & Out) is being moved to make way for the new UNLV Transit Terminal – which breaks ground in March. The transit stop, which I have been opposing for over a year, was part of a federal grant that helped expand the Tropicana parking garage several years ago. It’s a done deal, and nothing any of us did over the past year could have stopped it.
HOWEVER. The fact that parking spots were switched today came as a complete surprise to many people, including myself and the chair of the UNLV Parking Committee, as no formal notice went out from the UNLV Parking Department.
The important thing to note here is that the entire front lot (behind In & Out) will be used for the transit stop and that the new staff spaces (which have been “moved”) are permanent – until a parking garage is built on the southern lot (behind Aloha Kitchen) as part of the UNLV Master Plan.
CSUN’s Focus on Parking
Many students bring up parking as their number one issue, and CSUN always talks about fixing parking. In fact, a former adviser in the Liberal Arts College posted on social media today that parking is always an empty promise for CSUN, and has been for seven years. He also said that CSUN has no control over the Parking Department. He’s partly right.
I promised students last year that I would go to battle on parking issues. Here’s what I did fight for:
No parking permit fee increase: I am happy to report that parking permit fees will not increase until at least 2015.
No weekend parking enforcement: I fought back hard on this one because it would seriously impact students who study on weekends and most of Greek Life – who assemble on Sundays for chapter meetings.
Staff parking after 5pm in Lot I: Currently, the policy on campus allows students who have purchased a student parking permit to park in staff spaces after 5pm – with the exception of Lot I, near Lied Library. You’ll be happy to know that I was successful in passing a proposal through the UNLV Parking Committee last month to formally recommend to the UNLV Parking Department making the policy campus-wide. Once implemented, students will be able to park in Lot I between 5pm – 7pm without receiving surprise tickets. The lot does have a sign that says 7pm, but who reads signs when they think the rule is 5pm?
Student parking in front of Student Union: While I still want to see this become a reality, traffic issues on Maryland Parkway (a valid reason) are the biggest challenge to making it happen.
More student parking: I am still pushing for more student parking, especially in places like the parking lot behind the Lied Library by removing some metered spots. This looks like it could be a reality, so stay tuned. However, turning staff parking into student parking isn’t an option because if staff can’t park – they can’t teach our classes, and they pay twice as much as students for their permits. (I’ve tried this strategy many times without success.)
Nine parking garages: The UNLV Master Plan calls for up to nine additional parking garages. This effectively puts an end to the “fix parking” debate because the UNLV Parking Department won’t be taking on many short-term projects if the long-term solutions are on the horizon. While these garages may not be built while we are at UNLV, hopefully future students will have a much better parking experience.
So while the former adviser in the Liberal Arts College is right that CSUN can’t force decisions upon the Parking Department, and that there have been many empty promises made over the years — it is important for students to know that I have fought for them on a number of realistic initiatives, and we’ve made some great progress. My promises were not empty.
It is also important to know what is, and is not, realistic. When you hear people talk of removing all metered spots, removing staff spaces, free parking for students without permits, building a parking garage other than in UNLV Master Plan proposed locations, and other unrealistic proposals, keep in mind that those of us who are working on these issues are making progress on realistic solutions to the parking challenges facing students.
As always, if you have questions about this – or any other issue – don’t hesitate to contact me at Mark.Ciavola@unlv.edu or (702) 289-8592.]]>
For years, UNLV students have had to deal with a bad economy and job market, budget cuts, tuition and fee increases, less than stellar student services, a lack of class sections, GAs teaching instead of professors, and more. But nothing comes close to the staggering audacity of “Mandatory Health Insurance as a Condition of Enrollment.”
When the NSHE Board of Regents meet this Thursday, they will be considering a proposal which – if passed – would allow institutions in Nevada to require that students prove they have health insurance in order to enroll in classes. What’s worse? They’d have to prove it every single semester.
As if this wasn’t outrageous enough, the reasons don’t add up.
In a committee meeting, held to determine the effects of this policy on various UNLV departments, I was told that the reasons were as follows:
Reasons vs. Reality
Reason #1. In order to offer a low-cost Student Health Insurance Plan at UNLV, there need to be more students enrolled in the plan to lower premiums.
Reason #2. The new national health care law requires everyone to have health insurance, so this policy would be in line with the new law.
Reason #3. Having students without insurance on campus, or not offering students health insurance on campus, could result in increased liability for the university.
Here’s the reality:
Reality #1: Most students don’t know about the Student Health Insurance Plan because it isn’t advertised. Until it is advertised, it’s difficult to complain about low enrollment and be taken seriously. I suggested to the committee that we add a page during enrollment on MyUNLV that advertises the health insurance plan, with an opt-in/opt-out feature. That way, it is guaranteed to be advertised to every student.
Reality #2: It is not UNLV’s responsibility to enforce the new federal health care law. Furthermore, if a student chooses to pay the penalty ($750) rather than purchase health insurance ($2,000), they should still be able to take classes at UNLV. Under this new measure they wouldn’t be able to. That’s just wrong.
Reality #3: The opt-in/opt-out feature during enrollment will solve this problem. However, the fact that options like an opt-in/out and advertising to students were not considered prior to jumping to mandatory health insurance as a condition of enrollment is disturbing.
I’m happy to say that the CSUN Senate, last Thursday, unanimously passed a resolution opposing Mandatory Health Insurance as a Condition of Enrollment. Furthermore, I will be contacting all of the NSHE Board of Regents regarding this issue, and speaking out against it at their meeting this Thursday.
I will keep students up to date on this issue, as it is an important one that affects us all. The cost of education is high enough without adding this unnecessary burden. I, for one, am tired of the quality of our education and student services decreasing while our tuition and fees continue to rise. We’ve been fortunate that tuition has remained steady for the past year and that we have been able to stop certain fees from being passed. However, we need to continue that fight and ensure that the students are represented properly on these issues.
Today is Nevada Education Awareness Day at the Nevada Legislature. In my role as student body president I am part of the Nevada Student Alliance, made up of the various student body presidents – both undergraduate and graduate – across Nevada. Today, the Nevada Student Alliance is in Carson City representing students on some of the most important issues facing us, as students.
Today, I decided not to join the NSA in Carson City because they decided to support the Nevada System of Higher Education’s legislative agenda instead of an agenda that directly benefits students. The #1 priority? Restoring faculty and staff pay.
I was elected to represent you, not the faculty and staff.
Please read my letter to the Nevada Legislature explaining my decision.
If you have any questions, contact me directly at Mark.Ciavola@unlv.edu or (702) 289-8592.
In the meantime, I will continue to have your back.]]>