Brown vetoes PC fee referendum

    A.S. President Jenn Brown recently vetoed legislation to pass a $39-per-quarter fee referendum for the expansion of the Price Center and renovation of the Student Center.

    The veto came after a 14-4-4 roll-call vote which passed the two-thirds vote required, not counting abstentions. According to Brown, one of the reasons for the veto was because of confusion as to whether the abstentions counted for the two-thirds.

    “”I felt it very inappropriate to allow legislation to pass when senators did not have the correct information on what their vote meant,”” Brown said.

    The roll-call motion was called during last week’s meeting where senators had to turn in their votes by 4 p.m. Friday afternoon. Also during the meeting, Brown submitted several amendments to the referendum, which would change autonomy over construction, planning and design of the expansion to A.S. and the Graduate Student Association.

    “”My specific concern about the current referendum is that it gives power over the building and our fees to the administration who serve many more interests than students,”” Brown said.

    However, some believe that the majority of the senators have agreed that it is the wrong time for Associated Students to move toward autonomy.

    “”I think all the senators and student members of the [University Centers Expansion Task Force] would like to see student control of the new university centers,”” said Revelle College Sophomore Senator Achim Lyon. “”At this time, however, most of us in the legislative body feel it would be extremely irresponsible and irreparably damaging to the A.S. to make such a move right now.””

    Some of the senators have also expressed the need to recognize the year-long effort of the task force. The task force has implemented surveys and received recommendations from UCSD Facilities, Design and Construction, and UCSD Campus Planning representatives.

    “”The UCETF worked extremely, extremely hard on this plan and we should all be very grateful to those who participated,”” said Roosevelt Freshman Senator Max Harrington. “”The product they came up with was what was asked for, and I and others have been continually impressed by their progress reports, presentations and dedication.””

    The proposed referendum included the expansion of offices and the Co-op stores in the Student Center and the addition of food services in Price Center. Nonfood retail services, including a full-service bank, grocery store and an expanded Post Office will also be added.

    “”I’m disappointed because the senate is elected to speak for the students, and to be the student voice in the student government,”” said University Centers Advisory Board Chair and task force member James Lynch. “”With so many senators supporting it, it’s a little disheartening to know that the student voice is not being listened to.””

    However, according to John Muir College Sophomore Senator Jeremy Cogan, the concern is not on the wording of the referendum itself, but on the limited discussion of other possible options. When Brown submitted the amendments to the referendum, a motion was passed limiting council members to talk only about the referendum as it was presented by the UCETF.

    “”Even though I’m 100 percent in favor for the referendum and expansion, I felt that discussion was limited and we weren’t given the chance to discuss them,”” said Cogan, who abstained from the vote. “”If we want expansion to happen, it should be something that council is almost unanimous on. I want to see the referendum pass, but in order to do that we need an A.S. Council that is united.””

    Brown also expressed the same concerns regarding the lack of discussion and debate during last week’s meeting. Another concern, according to Brown, is the possibility of a counter-campaign that might be opposed to expansion.

    “”I felt it necessary to veto the legislation to bring rise to the voices at the table that were not heard,”” Brown said. “”I feel it is really important that in making a decision about Price Center expansion, we look critically at which way it has a better chance to pass.””

    For some members of the UCETF, the delay also means pushing back the campaign necessary for the passing of the referendum. According to UCETF Chair Garo Bournoutian, the task force will still prepare to run the referendum and keep its seventh-week deadline, at which time students will be able to vote for it.

    “”It can be done, as long as questions are answered by this week’s meeting,”” Bournoutian said. “”I feel that there has been plenty of time to discuss the issue and it has just been pushed back and pushed back.””

    A.S. senators will have the opportunity to override the veto at this week’s meeting. In order for the veto be overruled, there must be a two-thirds vote. In the event of failing to get the required votes, a new referendum will be redrawn.

    “”I feel that with a very comprehensive and well-facilitated discussion, the four vote of abstentions, including myself, could take the time to either vote affirmative or negative,”” said Muir Freshman Senator Nam Bui. “”I think that we could possibly come to some kind of compromise that would not result in both sides having to sacrifice their intentions and goals.””

    More to Discover
    Donate to The UCSD Guardian
    $200
    $500
    Contributed
    Our Goal

    Your donation will support the student journalists at University of California, San Diego. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment, keep printing our papers, and cover our annual website hosting costs.

    Donate to The UCSD Guardian
    $200
    $500
    Contributed
    Our Goal