Gallagher takes stance on fee ref

    A.S. President Jeremy Paul Gallagher took a public stance supporting the Price Center and Student Center Expansion Referendum on May 13, briefly speaking out in its favor from the stage in the Price Center, where a debate on the referendum was held a half hour later.

    Gallagher has been a vocal critic of the A.S. Council taking a stance on the referendum, and had advised the council against passing a resolution that urged students to vote “”yes”” on the referendum. The resolution was passed at the council’s May 7 meeting, despite suggestions from Gallagher himself that he might consider vetoing the decision.

    Some supporters of the “”Vote No”” campaign criticized the president’s decision to take a public stance.

    “”I don’t think it’s appropriate for the A.S. to urge students to vote one way or another in an election that they’re running,”” said Brie Finegold, interim commissioner of student advocacy, who spoke against the referendum in the debate.

    “”I don’t think that leads to a fair election. A debate is supposed to be back and forth between the two sides, and to have someone come in and use their position of power to advocate one of the sides is not appropriate and does not lead to a fair debate,”” Feingold said.

    James Lynch, chair of the University Centers Advisory Board, spoke in favor of the referendum during the debate and defended Gallagher’s decision.

    “”It’s right for him to take a stance,”” Lynch said. “”He’s a public figure and everyone should know what he has to say on it, and I think everyone should take a stance.””

    From the stage, Gallagher encouraged students to vote regardless of their stance — before announcing the he personally would be voting in favor of the referendum being passed — and outlined three reasons why he was choosing to vote yes.

    The first expressed the need to move into bigger locations as the student body expanded over the coming years.

    The second was that this was a “”student-initiated”” referendum.

    “”The body that controls the building is two-thirds students, and so students do have the voting power on what the building looks like and what it will shape to be,”” Gallagher said, adding that the fee would be covered by financial aid for eligible students.

    The third was that if the referendum passes, the Cross-Cultural Center would move to a permanent space rather than stay in a temporary facility.

    “”I also want to promise that if the referendum passes, I will play a strong role in making sure that the new student union is everything that is outlined in the referendum wording,”” Gallagher said.

    Following his speech, Gallagher maintained that it was a “”bad idea”” for Associated Students to have passed a resolution.

    “”I think A.S. does have an impact on students,”” Gallagher said. “”This has them question what are they doing and why are they doing this, so hopefully it got people to look more into it, if nothing else.””

    Gallagher added that he would have taken a stance on the issue whether Associated Students had passed a resolution or not.

    Monitors of the student voting process had recorded that over 18 percent of UCSD’s student population had already voted on whether or not to pass the referendum as of May 14 at 3 p.m.

    Voting on StudentLink ends May 16, with a 20 percent voter turnout rate needed to validate the special elections’ results. The turnout is expected to exceed that of the 2003 general elections.

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