Referendum's Proposed Funds Shortchange Some Organizations

I hope it’s not too late by the time you read this. For this entire week, the students of UCSD have had the opportunity to affect the future of this campus. Doc Khaleghi, the A.S. president, wrote in an article earlier this week in the Guardian that the future of this university hangs in the balance. And I have to admit, for better or for worse, our president is correct.

But I hope that by the time you read this article, be it at Espresso Roma, the blocks on Library Walk or during a political science 112A class, you have not made the grave mistake of voting “”Yes”” on this referendum.

To state it simply, this referendum is bad for UCSD and bad for students. It is positive, but for the wrong groups. The immense costs (and I am not referring only to monetary costs) that will be borne by students outweigh the minute benefits.

Do not jump to the conclusion that I am against expanding the Price Center or renovating the Student Center. After all, I have to work in the dingy offices of the Guardian, which are located in the Student Center. But perhaps what I say will open your eyes to how detrimental this referendum is, if I — someone who could gain so much from it — could still actually be against it.

I agree that student organizations need to be better funded, that O.A.S.I.S. needs more funding, etc. However, this referendum is not the way to bring about such changes.

Admittedly, the extra fee of $71.40 per quarter is worth bringing about positive changes to the campus. What I have against this increase is how the money will be allocated and what I see as a waste of our dollars.

According to the Special Election Voting Guide, $19 of the $71.40 will be distributed to intercollegiate sports, while the LGBT Resource Office receives a measly $0.50. The International Center is allocated $0.25, while the Women’s Center gets $0.50. O.A.S.I.S., which is integral to students, receives $2.50. The list goes on. What I see here is a serious misallocation of funds that strays away from what this university holds most important: academics.

Just between you and me (and I do not intend to insult the athletes on campus), sports are far from important to the overall life of this school. Yes, we are in Division II, but let’s get serious. This is a school set on academics, and simply throwing money at the sports teams will not change that. It is only the mentality of the student body that can change that fact; wasting our money will not.

Another part of this referendum is the prospect of placing synthetic turf on Muir Field. Really now, what the hell is this about? A person just has to ask, “”Why?””

Another drawback to this expansion plan is that it would hardly change campus life here, despite the name of the referendum. This referendum allows for what seems like another Price Center to be built.

The expanded Price Center will offer nothing new to students. Will building more ballrooms make your weekends any less boring? Will more student lounges really be useful in keeping you entertained? Perhaps the administration simply wants to keep students bored so they’ll use the expanded study lounges on the weekends.

Why not use the funds to build a student union? For god’s sake, CSU Long Beach has a student union, complete with several bowling lanes. The funds should actually be used to help make student life less bland rather than wasting it with more ballrooms and bigger offices for the A.S. Council members.

Furthermore, and on a personal note, the way the proponents of the referendum are promoting it is simply annoying and insulting. On Monday, several students approached me while I was quietly munching on my fries. In their hands were stacks of voting guides, which offer statements favoring and opposing the fee increase, trying to seem bipartisan about the issue.

However, like Jehovah’s Witnesses, these proponents come up to students, shoving their literature into people’s faces. They preach their values, trying to shepherd students to vote “”Yes.”” They try to capture the apathetic student (which is the majority at UCSD) so they can obtain their 20 percent of students necessary to pass the amendment. They dangle treats such as sodas and cookies in front of students who vote, like a farmer dangling carrots or apples in front of a mule. They try to imitate the political machines of Richard Daley or Bill Thompson by offering promises of greater opportunities if we vote their way.

The referendum, however, will not bring greater opportunities. Instead, the referendum will waste student funds. It is a half-hearted attempt at bringing about change on campus, and does so badly. The funds are badly misallocated, not focusing on what is most important to the school and to its students. It offers nothing that would make the weekends of students living on campus any better. The laundry list of promises provided in the voting guide is nothing more than a veil over students’ eyes to keep them from seeing how poorly the money will be spent. Students must take the good with the bad.

I admit that not all of the referendum is bad. The increased funds are going to the right places, though not in the right proportions. I agree with the concept that financial aid covers the increased fees for students that qualify. I agree that the two centers need to be able to accommodate more students. Yes, the student organizations need better funding. However, this current plan is not the way to bring about this much-needed expansion.

In previous years, students have rejected similar proposals and should do so again this year. Students should continue to reject these proposals as long as they do not serve the greater population of the campus, not just some small minority such as the frats and sororities, or athletes. This is, after all, our campus, and, as Khaleghi wrote, its future is in our hands. Only we, the students, can know what is best for it.

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