Council Discusses Fee Referendum Tack-On, Resulting Fund Allocation Matters

The proposed A.S. activity fee increase was once again thrust into the spotlight at last night’s council meeting, although a final vote on the fee referendum was postponed until next Wednesday’s meeting.

The meeting began with a presentation from the Social and Environmental Sustainability Committee during public input, which proposed to tack an additional $2.34-per-student-per-quarter increase onto the proposed $16.35 A.S. activity fee referendum that would fund sustainability and green projects.

The representatives from S.E.S.C. explained that the $85,400 that the fee would go toward renting out the space for the Sustainability Resource Center, as well as the Green Initiative Fund for sustainability and green projects that would reduce the university’s impact on the environment.

Brief reports from various council-members followed the presentation. Sixth College Senator John Cressey implored senators to come to meetings to discuss plans for the year.

“Thank you, all of you that have e-mailed me,” Cressey joked. “For those that didn’t, you’re fired.”

Vice President of Student Life Darryl Nousome enthusiastically announced next week’s first ever UCSD Homecoming weekend, a new A.S. initiative meant to increase solidarity and school spirit among students and alumni. Nousome emphasized that this event is a chance to show alumni how much the campus has grown.

After a brief recap of the successes and pitfalls of FallFest, the council’s attention once again turned to yet another lengthy discussion of the proposed activity fee referendum.

Most college senators announced that feedback regarding the proposed activity fee from students from their respective colleges was positive, though individuals such as Revelle College Senator Katie Hall emphasized the need for discussion about where the money from the referendum would go.

“If people can see that they’re supporting student orgs, programming, especially sustainability [by voting for the referendum], I think it’ll make a big difference in how people vote,” Associated Vice President of Athletic Relations Peter Benesch said in agreement.

Despite the obvious overwhelming support for the referendum, the council was torn over prioritizing the funding of college, Student Affirmative Action Committee organizations and A.S. Programming events in addition to the concern regarding the tight campaigning timeline brought up last week.

SAAC Representative Jia Wei brought to the council’s attention that SAAC organizations were apprehensive that the primary focus of the fee would be directly support A.S. Programming, while leaving out student organizations that desperately need additional funding from A.S.

“I don’t want to alienate the SAAC orgs,” President Donna Bean responded. “They have a huge voice in slates that come up, but SAAC orgs are not the only orgs on this campus.”

Bean once again implored the council to consider the amount of funding that the programming office needs in order to operate and give students the events they have come to expect from the council.