Enough Excuses, Get Our Referendum Together

    Ben Holm/Guardian

    A.S. councilmembers recently came to the harsh realization that certain aspects of their enterprise have gone utterly broke. Currently possessing barely half the funds needed to stage the annual Sun God Festival, A.S. Programming has hit a financial dead end, while the council’s funding for student organizations is quickly dwindling to a trickle.

    In order to tackle this rapidly worsening financial conundrum, councilmembers earlier this year proposed bringing a new activity fee referendum before the student body, the first since the council’s inception in 1985. Aimed primarily at resuscitating the ailing A.S. Programming, the envisioned referendum would, in its current form, raise student fees by an additional $19.82 per student per quarter, leaving A.S. Associate Vice President of Programming Garret Berg and his posse of programmers with the financial freedom and peace of mind to organize an even worse festival lineup than last year’s.

    With additional funds allotted to various campus organizations and enterprises, including KSDT Radio and A.S. Safe Ride, the referendum seems poised to rescue the floundering council from tapping into their much-coveted reserves. Having to do so, councilmembers contend, is not an option. Thus it would appear that this referendum is crucial to the continued survival of the many A.S.-funded services this campus has come to shelter. It would be a vast relief, a saving grace an unprecedented emergency bailout, one might say, of epic proportions.

    Yet after all this, they still can’t seem to finalize the damn thing.

    Last night, the council decided once again to postpone a vote on whether to bring the new referendum before the student body. This marks the third time councilmembers have tabled this vote, indicating that our student government is perhaps even less organized than originally given credit for.

    The council’s decision to again stall this vote, however, reveals a much deeper flaw within this governing body than one of mere disorganization or an inability to maintain campaign promises. The council is meant to exist as an institution that represents and ensures the continued well-being of student interests, yet the apparent inability of councilmembers to carry out their duties in a timely manner suggests an alarming lack of foresight, the inability to execute a well-laid plan and perhaps just plain apathy.

    Councilmembers attribute their latest failure to approve the referendum to the fact that an organization added into the proposal at the last minute has not yet drafted a charter, a requirement for any enterprise funded by the council. Why, however, when dealing with such an important matter, should something so obvious slip under the radar?

    This is more than just a mistake; it’s a stark testament to the sort of lackadaisical attitude possessed by so many councilmembers. This is an incident that points to a lack of oversight within the council, to a disregard for responsibility and to a distinct absence of any noticeable coherence among those supposedly representing the student body.

    Hopefully councilmembers will get their act together long enough to actually put this issue to a student vote at some point in the near future, especially considering the last time the council sponsored a special election (SRTV, anyone?), it took nearly two months to organize. It would be unacceptable if the funds needed to maintain crucial campus events and organizations — Sun God in particular — were simply not attained in time.

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