Muir forum addresses constituencies' rights

    The John Muir College senators held a public forum with their constituents on Feb. 12 in the Davis/Riverside Room, discussing student concerns ranging from the parking situation to spending limits on upcoming A.S. election campaigns.

    Jessica Horton
    Guardian

    Other issues brought up by senators were rises in student fees; referendum plans for the expansion of the Price Center; StudentLink reforms; the No on Classification of Race, Ethnicity and National Origin initiative; and Muirstock festival planning.

    “”Parking is the No. 1 thing that senators hear about when we talk to students,”” said John Muir College Senior Senator Corinne Hart.

    With the possibility of 1,000 “”S”” spaces being taken out of UCSD parking before next year, students voiced their concern that they would have even more difficulty getting to class on time than they currently do.

    “”It’s not just an issue of convenience, it’s a matter of academics, and that’s why we’re all here in the first place,”” said Sophomore Senator Jeremy Cogan.

    Senators brought up the idea of organizing a student protest in the Price Center to show the administration their opposition.

    “”So far, the sentiment with parking is that we can’t do anything about it, and that students don’t have any choice … but I’d like to see students stand up,”” Hart said.

    The other main item in the forum discussion was the possibility of seeing spending limits for student government election campaigns taken away in the wake of the UC Santa Cruz lawsuit which could lead to all UC campuses taking away spending limits.

    “”There has been quite a battle in A.S. lately as to whether or not we should eliminate them before we are told that we have to, or if we should stand up and fight against it,”” Hart said. “”The Muir senators have taken a stance that we should fight against it and keep our spending limits as long as possible.””

    If the university requires them to take away spending caps, the senators said they would be required to comply, but didn’t want to take away limits preemptively “”out of fear.””

    “”To back down in advance would be basically showing that we’re just not going to put up any fight on behalf of the students,”” Cogan said.

    Several students suggested that if the limits were to be eliminated, that senators should look more closely into what individual campaigns can spend on. Other suggestions taken into consideration included limiting where campaign posters could be displayed.

    “”It’s really nice to hear that students are totally for campaign spending limits,”” Hart said. “”When you think you’re for it, you don’t necessarily know if all the students are for it, too.””

    The A.S. Council will be addressing the recently reintroduced campaign spending legislation at next week’s meeting.

    Senators went on to discuss referendum possibilities for the expansion of the Price Center, asking students whether they would be willing to pay an addition $25 to $30. Some student brought up the concern that additional fees would be badly timed in the wake of the rise in campus fees and parking tickets, among other student expenditures.

    The senators said they would look into students’ advice that buildings that would be sponsored by student fees should be owned by Associated Students. Suggestions for what to include in the renovation of the game room included healthy restaurants and a barber shop.

    Individual senators from each class also discussed their personal projects. Hart is currently working to consolidate a central location on campus for students victim of sexual assault. Cogan and John Muir College Freshman Senator Nam Bui are working with the CRENO initiative, which is slated to appear on ballots in March 2004.

    “”Proponents are saying that it’s going to make a colorblind society, but what it does is it makes an ignorant society,”” Cogan said. “”You won’t know what the diversity of your school is, hospitals aren’t going to know what certain groups are more susceptible to certain illnesses, etc.””

    Cogan is also planning on improving StudentLink by finding ways to make it resemble the student service Web sites of other universities which offer a customizable display. Also, he is hoping to improve student spirit by making the Triton more apparent as a mascot.

    “”If you look at StudentLink, or if you look at just anything at UCSD, our mascot is always the library, and we’re not the UCSD Libraries, we’re the UCSD Tritons,”” Cogan said. “”That’s a little thing, but these little things can have a big impact on the big picture of school spirit.””

    It was also announced that due to a conflict in programming, the date for Muirstock could be switched from April 25 to April 18.

    The public forum was brainstormed and organized by Gui.

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