Warren fee needed, but campaign is unfair

    Earl Warren College students are voting on a $12-per-year fee increase this week. The increase might be necessary to deal with budget cuts — WCSC has the smallest budget despite having the most students — but the election process has been unethical.

    WCSC, which spent itself into debt last year with $1,500 worth of Frisbees and zip wallets, has neglected Warren’s commuters by making it impossible for them to vote from home. Rather than holding the election on StudentLink, the council instead opened two paper-ballot polling places: one near the Price Center shuttle stop and one in the Warren residence area. Not every commuter visits the Price Center shuttle stop, and commuters have no reason to approach the Warren residential complex. Moreover, commuters have more incentive to vote against paying more money to a council that focuses almost exclusively on residents. WCSC seems to have intentionally slanted the election to favor residents over commuters in order to ensure the referendum’s approval.

    USA Today’s participation in the election is also troubling. It has paid over $2,000 for referendum advertising and publicity. Should the fee increase fail, the newspaper stands to lose money when funding is cut for the $9,000-per-year Readership Program. Although there is no written guarantee that WCSC would continue to fund USA Today, it is a huge conflict of interest for the paper to fund the referendum. If WCSC had bothered to hold the election on StudentLink, USA Today’s money for the polling stations and other “get-out-and-vote” efforts would be unnecessary.

    Regardless of whether the fee increase passes, WCSC must remember to address commuters’ needs. WCSC neglected commuters by refusing to hold an online election, but would do well to remember that commuters constitute the majority of Warren students. If Warren’s student leaders forget to cater to them, they may face the wrath of commuters whose long-term memory could prove better than theirs in the next election.

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