Campus Life Can Be Resurrected With Vote

This week the most important election in UCSD’s history will take place. You have seen the signs reading “”Vote for the Campus Life Fee Referendum.”” But what is this referendum, and how can five minutes of your time change the future of UCSD?

Our campus is at a crossroads, and the direction we choose will determine the fate of UCSD. Several years ago, 87 percent of voting students approved a move to Division II athletics. Never had such a high percentage of students voted in favor of anything.

But with that move came increased costs in travel, staff and equipment. Athletics needs more money to just maintain its program. Without any increased funding from a new source, not only would some teams have to be cut, but the committee that funds athletics, the Registration Fee Committee, would also have to cut funding to many of the other units it funds. These programs include Student Health, Career Services, the Cross-Cultural Center, and O.A.S.I.S.

Also, this campus is becoming too crowded. The lines at the Price Center are too long. There are not enough meeting rooms, student organization office spaces nor dining seating, and there is not nearly enough money to fund the hundreds of active groups at UCSD. Soon we will have 10,000 more students occupying the same space and sharing a proportionate amount of funds. The state, which funds the UC system, does not fund any of these services because they are considered “”nonacademic.””

At the beginning of fall quarter, 20 student leaders from student government, student organizations, athletics, cultural groups and student co-operatives convened. The committee’s task was to give students the chance to come up with a solution to the problem while also trying to improve many aspects of campus life.

After two quarters and hundreds of hours, students formed the Campus Life Fee Referendum, which, if passed by the student body, will not only prevent the occurence of some of these stark predictions for the future, but also change the ambiance of UCSD for the better.

The Campus Life Fee Referendum will expand the Price Center and Student Center, which will mean a greater variety of dining choices. It will mean shorter lines, more meeting rooms and dining seating, including indoor seating at The Grove Caffe, and more offices for student organizations. There will be new study lounges, one being a huge 24-hour lounge with 60 computer workstations, study rooms, a late-night restaurant and a kitchen.

But that is only one aspect of this referendum. Money will be provided for athletics so it can maintain its programs at the Division II level and not have to cut teams. Student organizations will be able to install the many programs that they have previously never been able to find money for. In addition, the colleges will be able to provide more events.

The referendum will allow for more cultural and diverse programming by providing support for the Cross-Cultural Center, Women’s Center, the LGBT Resource Office and the International Center. Money will go to O.A.S.I.S. to increase its workshops and tutoring. Also, it will fund improvements to sports facilities, such as lighting at Warren Field and synthetic turf at Muir field. The Main Gym will be open 24 hours — and if you’ve been in there lately, you’ll notice the facilities are similar to those at RIMAC.

Students wrote the entire referendum — they wrote the language and the amounts. The fee is $71.40 per quarter. You can see a breakdown of the fee at the polls or in the Guardian. This fee is much less than some other referendums right now at other UC campuses, which are being used solely for university center expansions. The fee is much less than some schools’ athletics fees or recreational fees, yet this referendum will do so much more.

The committee has ensured that the fee will be reviewed every three years for possible lowering. If any other sources of funding become available for any of these units, the fee will be lowered. The referendum committee also made sure that this fee is covered by financial aid for those who qualify for financial aid. The committee wanted to ensure the affordability of the fee for those who might not regularly be able to pay. Last, the committee made sure that students control every dollar generated by the fee.

This week you are going to see polling places for this referendum all around the campus. Please take the five minutes to vote and make your voice heard. People say there is nothing to do at UCSD; let’s change all that. If we do not move now, we stand much to lose. We are at a turning point where UCSD’s fate hangs in the balance.

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