Students Pass Warren Fee Hike in Landslide

    Following more than two months of campaigning, Dec. 7 marked
    closure for proponents of the Warren College Activity Fee Referendum, which met
    the required participation threshold and was approved by 74.2 percent of voters.

    Approximately 21.2 percent of Warren students voted during the weeklong
    special election, 656 of whom voted to increase the fee by $3 a quarter. The
    referendum will allocate $26,199 to Warren College Student Council programming
    and student groups, including the Warren Live! concert and the Warren Transfer
    Commuter Commission.

    “I had no doubt that it was going to get more yeses than
    noes,” said WCSC Parliamentarian Dan Palay, who initially proposed the fee
    referendum. “It was always the 20-percent mark that was hard to gauge. It was
    just one of those things that you have to push until the end.”

    Palay said that although the 21-percent turnout may appear
    disappointing, in actuality it is a strong showing for UCSD students.

    “It’s always disheartening to see how low the voter turnout
    is, but that’s only in the grand scheme of things,” he said. “At the same time,
    21 percent is a relatively high turnout of voters considering only 17 percent
    voted in the past council election. It’s a double-edged sword.”

    WCSC Elections Manager Aaron Horning said he was not
    particularly worried about surpassing the 20-percent participation barrier.

    “I was pretty confident that we would be able to meet it,”
    he said.

    The most difficult part of running the election was ensuring
    that the council followed all of the college’s rules and bylaws, according to
    WCSC President Jessica Fernandez.

    “I was relieved overall that the week was over, because we
    had to make sure we were doing everything just right according to the rules,”
    Fernandez said. “I’m just really happy about the way it was run.”

    Horning said he modified the pro and con statements before
    placing them on the ballot in order to make them more sensible. Initially, the
    drafted “con” statement was only eight words long.

    “It wasn’t to make them equal, it was to convey the truth of
    both sides,” Horning said.

    The ballots were offered at voting polls run by volunteers,
    who kept the polls open until the final ballot was cast on Dec. 7 despite cold
    and rainy weather. Horning counted the votes and then collaborated with
    Fernandez to send certified election results to the Warren dean.

    “We’re kind of in a
    holding pattern now, since it has to go through the university,” Palay said.

    Now that Warren students have greenlighted the referendum,
    it will pass through the Student Affairs department, which includes Vice
    Chancellor of Student Affairs Penny Rue and Chancellor Marye Anne Fox, before
    ending up on the desk of UC President Robert C. Dynes. If approved, the fee
    hike will take effect in Spring Quarter.

    With the promise of more funds, WCSC officials are planning
    a revamp of the college’s student life.

    “I think it will certainly give programming boards more
    freedom to put on bigger and better events, which will affect Warren in a positive way,” Fernandez said.

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