Council Pushes Loft Funding Issue Off on Special Committee

A swarm of concerned campus community members came forth at last night’s A.S. Council meeting, which was again dominated by issues of funding for the Loft and the Programming Office. Students communicated their feelings about adding the $2.65 per student per quarter provision for the Loft to the A.S. activity fee referendum.

“I think that any business should employ a sustainable business model,” former Physical Sciences Senator Rishi Ghosh said. “A.S. is not here to give free money to businesses on campus.”

Several others also expressed their disapproval. Dorothy Young, Chair of the Student Affirmative Action Committee, told council that the administration should run its own referendum.

“There’s a secret boycott on the Loft,” Richard Chiem of the Food Co-op said in addition. “What I feel from the Loft is a sense of wasted money.”

Two special presentations followed the lengthy and impassioned session of public input — one from Stephanie Usry from the Center for Student Involvement and the One Stop Desk, and the other from Transportation and Parking Services Director Brian D’Autremont.

While Usry’s presentation was short and sweet, D’Autremont’s was tailed by many questions regarding parking privileges and shuttle services.

Discussion over adding the Loft provision to the A.S. activity fee referendum indicated the transition into the second half of the lengthy meeting.

The council scrutinized a draft Memorandum of Understanding for the Campus Activity Fee for the Loft Referendum, which Director of University Events Office Martin Wollensen sent to the council earlier this week.

Former A.S. councilmember Kyle Samia urged the council to tighten the language stipulated in the memo and be ready to bargain for increased control over the Loft.

“If I were a councilmember and this [memo] was it, I would fail it in council,” Samia said of the MoU. “This isn’t student control. That isn’t shared governance, that’s a department using our money doing what they want.”

After over two hours of debate over the language of Wollesen’s memo, Associate Vice President of Student Advocacy Frank Carroll suggested that President Donna Bean set up a special committee to discuss and revise the memo rather than simply tabling the discussion of the Loft for another week.

Bean subsequently established the Special Committee on the Loft which some councilmembers gleefully began calling “SCLOFT.”

After shelving the issue of the Loft for the new special committee to grapple with, the council worried over their own referendum, and how student organizations and programming would be funded. The immediate concern fell upon funding for Winter Quarter activities.

The council made little progress, despite spending over five hours in the forum. Many councilmembers also voiced frustrations over being unable to begin campaigning for the referendum.

“I’m severely disappointed in this council’s inability to take action,” AVP of College Affairs Jack Cheadle said near the end of the meeting.