Special election voting for the Campus Life Fee Referendum will begin Monday, April 23, and end Friday, April 27.

The fee is intended to improve student life at UCSD through the expansion of the University Centers, and to increase funding of student services, student organizations, NCAA athletics, sports facilities, the A.S. Council and the individual colleges.

Like all UCSD referendums before it, and any that may come in the future, this referendum and the process by which it was drafted are not perfect. The Guardian, however, thinks that the potential benefits of the referendum far outweigh its cost — and at $71.40 per student per quarter, the cost is certainly not small.

UCSD will expand its undergraduate enrollment to around 30,000 by 2010, which is about a 50 percent increase from today’s numbers.

Each year, more student organizations request funding, the Price Center and Student Center become more crowded during peak hours, seats are harder to find in study lounges and libraries, and meeting spaces become more difficult to reserve. These problems will only worsen unless they are addressed now.

Simply put, any remedy for these problems costs money — a lot of it. It is the position of the Guardian that the proposed Campus Life Fee would address these problems in a timely, fair and effective manner.

Specifically, the Campus Life Fee proposes increased funding for the International Center, the Women’s Center, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Resource Office and the Graduate Student Organization. These student services need the fee to even maintain, let alone improve their level of service to students.

Almost 40 percent of the proposed fee would go to expanding the University Centers. This is by far the biggest chunk of change allocated to any one item.

This money would fund the expansion of the Price Center and renovation of the Student Center, both of which would begin immediately following the referendum, should it pass. It is crucial to expand and improve these spaces to better serve the growing UCSD community, and the proposed plans for the expansion are extremely well-thought-out.

Another item receiving a large portion of the proposed fee is NCAA intercollegiate athletics. Because of UCSD’s immensely popular move to Division II, the athletics department needs to expand its resources to duplicate the success UCSD achieved in Division III. Without extra funding, this cannot be a reality.

The fee is expensive. However, despite what the proposed fee’s opponents say, it is imperative to understand that the fee would be fully covered by additional financial aid offerings. This fact is confirmed in writing from the Office of Financial Aid.

The Guardian has mixed feelings about the process by which the referendum was drafted. Ideally, it would have not been initiated by the administration. However, the quality of the final product far outweighs this concern.