Editorial

    John Muir College recently passed a fee activity referendum that will increase student fees to $7 per quarter. The new revenues are intended to expand the college¹s programming, which is the source of activities such as the Muir college suitcase dance, pizza study breaks during finals week and broomball.

    Interestingly, however, the only polling place that Muir college cared to operate during the election was located in the Middle of Muir. The Guardian believes that, given the ability to set up online polling through StudentLink, this was an inexcusable method of altering the voter pool so that the referendum would be more likely to pass.

    Most UCSD students are commuters, and as such, they visit their college campuses less frequently than those who live in on-campus dormitories and apartments. In fact, unless one must complete some sort of academic counseling or unless one has a class in the immediate area, it is unlikely that a person will even set foot on his college¹s campus during an average day.

    Given that most Muir students are commuters and they typically visit their college campuses infrequently, it is alarming that Muir college failed to allow its students to vote via StudentLink. Providing this option would have made it as easy for commuters to have a say on the fee hike as it was for those living on campus, since the commuters can¹t be offered the luxury of having a polling place outside their front door.

    Muir college¹s decision regarding the polling place becomes even more suspicious, however, when one considers that commuters stand to gain little from fee referendums that throw more of their money at college programming, and are therefore less likely to vote in favor of such fee increases. Making it less likely that commuters would vote at all ‹ and making it harder for them to do so in general ‹ was a perfect way of largely avoiding their ³no² votes.

    Another interesting aspect of Muir college¹s referendum comes from Eleanor Roosevelt College. One week before Muir college voted on its fee increase, Roosevelt college¹s similar activity fee referendum failed to pass, and Roosevelt students had voted electronically through StudentLink.

    Regardless of how much Muir college programming may need that extra $5 per student each quarter, the circumstances surrounding the fee referendum election are questionable.

    The Guardian hopes that Thurgood Marshall College¹s fee referendum, to be voted on Feb. 25 through Feb. 28, will be treated less questionably, and that when polling locations are decided, commuters¹ needs will be considered equally with those of on-campus residents.

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