A.S. task force looks into issue of autonomy

    The A.S. Council will address a proposed charter for a task force to research the feasibility of A.S. Council autonomy from the administrative Office of Student Affairs on May 28.

    The A.S. Council tabled the proposal for an ASUCSD Ad Hoc Task Force on Associated Students Fee and Student Government Autonomy Inquiry to the Internal Committee on May 21.

    The task force would serve to “”evaluate the current funding situation of the [A.S.] and research the viability of student fee autonomy and the corresponding autonomy of UCSD student government,”” according to its charter. The charter was submitted by Thurgood Marshall College Junior Senator Billy Ikosipentarhos and Eleanor Roosevelt College Sophomore Senator Max Harrington.

    The task force would investigate existing forms of student body autonomy at other universities, matters of legality associated with going autonomous, manners of implementation, potential effects on the student population and the amount of student support for autonomy.

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    The task force would also study potential alternate sources of income for Associated Students and the impact autonomy would have on student life and relations with the administration. Upon the completion of research, the task force is to “”recommend the desirability of autonomy.”” The task force’s recommendation would be submitted no later than the first week of Spring 2004.

    “”We want to do the background research, to talk with the administration, to look at all the positives and negatives — all things which, for the most part, have not been done yet,”” Harrington said. “”There’s never been any debate regarding the underlying question: Is A.S. autonomy a good goal to have?””

    Autonomy could entail A.S. control of its own fund-raising, the A.S. Council’s independence from the jurisdiction of the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs and increased student representation on all-campus committees charged with managing student fee-funded ventures, Ikosipentarhos said. However, there is no single definition of autonomy, and the task force would explore many potential aspects of autonomy, according to Harrington.

    “”There are different levels of autonomy,”” Harrington said. “”Autonomy is not one thing. It can mean several things.””

    The question of A.S. autonomy and student control and representation on all-campus committees has been debated recently in the wake of the Price Center and Student Center Expansion Referendum, which was recently approved by students. Although student control of the Price Center and Student Center is not currently designated as an issue for the task force to address, it is interrelated with A.S. autonomy and “”could be a beneficial part of autonomy,”” Harrington said.

    The charter for the task force may be amended next week to address this issue specifically, Harrington said.

    “”If A.S. becomes more independent, would it translate into more [student] influence over university decisions or less?”” Harrington said, adding that students have limited representation in such all-campus committees as the Transportation Policy Committee and the Campus/Community Planning Committee.

    According to the proposed charter, the task force would be composed of 17 voting members, with a representative present from each college, the A.S. Council and the University Centers Advisory Board and up to three representatives from the Graduate Student Association. The A.S. commissioner of enterprise operations and the vice president finance would also be standing members on the task force.

    The vice chancellor of student affairs, the director of University Centers and all members of the A.S. Council and of the GSA are invited to sit on the task force as ex-officios.

    The task force would meet weekly and submit biweekly progress reports to the A.S. Council and the GSA on the fifth and tenth week of each quarter.

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