Editorial

A public university such as ours should not allow its students to have their rights yanked out from under them.

Vice Chancellor Joe Watson’s decision to refuse to sign legislation that would allow for increased membership to the United States Student Association and the University of California Student Association is an infringement on our power as students.

Students approved raising fees to fund the increased membership earlier this quarter, although the referendum will now never take effect.

The Guardian feels that the university should follow the lead of other UC campuses, specifically Santa Barbara and Los Angeles, who sent similar legislation to the UC Regents for their approval.

Although the Guardian did not endorse the passage of this fee increase, we don’t believe that Watson should unilaterally usurp students’ rights to voice their views to the regents.

Since last year, the USSA has given UCSD a grant to hire extra staff to increase voter turnout on election day and has helped staff the Students of Color Conference in February.

The Guardian understands Watson’s argument that this is not a UC-controlled organization and therefore we should not sponsor it through referendums. However, students should be able to spend their money any way they please.

The students have voted to increase their tuition by $6 next year to increase the school’s participation in the organizations. This money represents additional aid to USSA on top of what the A.S. Council currently gives to them.

This means that the administration would not have to pay an extra cent for the added benefits of increased participation. In a school criticized for its apathetic students, the Guardian thinks the administration should want to do everything in its power to increase involvement and quality of the school’s events. By not signing this legislation, Watson is endorsing just the opposite.

The $6 per year is not a lot to most students, but it matters dramatically when multiplied by the total number of students at UCSD. This money would do a lot of great things for campuses like ours that are in need of help.

The students have definitively expressed what they want and now it is time to fight for it. The Guardian feels that the members of the student body should not accept Watson’s decision and lobby to protect their rights as students.

A precedent needs to be set — that we will not allow the administration to act this way on matters that only affect the students. Watson would be wise to consider that the students see potential in this referendum and to follow the lead of other UC campuses and by signing the bill.

Although the bill still needs to be passed by Chancellor Robert Dynes, the UC Regents and UC President Richard Atkinson, it will never even be read by any of these individuals without Watson’s approval.

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