Student body votes in favor of insurance fee proposal

This article originally appeared in the March 14 issue of The Vantage

By Courtney Klaus, Managing Editor

Newman’s student body has voted in favor of a $50 increase in student fees to pay for Student Accident Shield Insurance that will cover all students.

The vote, which happened last week, means that the insurance will act as an additional insurance policy following primary insurance claims after any student accident that results in an injury on or off campus.

For non-athletes, the fee will remain at $50 for at least three years, while the difference in the cost of the policy will be paid by student athletes.

Even if the student body as a whole had voted no, student athletes would still have been required to pay for the insurance themselves. They would just have been the only ones covered by it.

This was the second time students were polled on whether or not they wanted to pay for the insurance. The first vote was held online last semester and also resulted in students voting in favor of the insurance, but the results were vetoed because the Student Government Association determined that coaches were telling their players how to vote.

To prevent the same thing from happening again, SGA made last week’s vote an in-person vote, which required all students to come to the student center and fill out a survey on paper. SGA members ran the voting booth and were available to answer questions about the insurance.

The polls were open Thursday afternoon and Friday morning, and 183 undergraduate students voted— a 19 percent voter turnout of all undergraduate Newman students. Of the undergraduate students, 113 voted yes, and 70 voted no.

The vote included a survey which showed that 93 of the undergraduates who voted were student athletes and 90 were non-athletes.  Student athletes voted overwhelmingly in favor of the fee increase with a total of 81 voting ‘yes’ and only 13 voting ‘no.’

Of the non-athletes, 32 voted ‘yes’ and 58 voted ‘no.’

President of SGA Vivian Hoang said three votes from graduate students were thrown out because the vote was “advertised as more of an undergraduate vote.”

The turnout was a decrease from last semester’s vote in which more than 200 students participated. The initial online poll was open for over a week.

Hoang said despite the lower participation, she believes that this vote is a more reliable measure of what the students actually want.

“Especially since it was a live vote and students had to physically come - it really showed that they cared about this and that they really wanted their opinions to be heard. They made the effort to come out and vote, so I think it definitely had more of an impact,” she said.

Sophomore Aaron Lindsay said he voted in favor of the insurance because a ‘yes’ vote would lower his fees overall since he is an athlete.

“Primarily because the insurance is mostly a cost to athletes. As an athlete, I thought it was in my best interest to vote ‘yes’,” he said.