With Referendum Delay, Council Hurts the Loft

Dear Editor,

It has been over a month since A.S. Council issued its vote nullifying the chances of having a University Centers Advisory Board Winter Quarter referendum concerning the Loft. As both a Sixth College freshman senator and A.S. Sixth College senator, I have had two years of experience with the bureaucratic labyrinth that is A.S. Council. In this discussion of the current council’s position on the Loft, my experience with A.S. allows me to testify to its own hypocrisy concerning student involvement on this campus.

For those of you who haven’t visited the Loft, it is the most amazing thing that has ever happened to this campus. Students can come to free world-class shows with the Loft’s Pay As You Can (PAYC) method of payment. With the combined Loft staff of students and professional planners, this space offers true real-world production opportunities for everyone involved. Students at the Loft are paid, but anyone who wants to learn about and support the arts can help through the Loft Street Team. As an all-inclusive endeavor, anyone can be a part of the Loft and contribute to making it an even better place.

The public university system’s reality is its profound lack of funding. The Loft, like so many other organizations on campus, does not have permanent funding and would need a referendum by Winter Quarter 2010 to maintain the same level of programming. The proposed fee of $4.65 per quarter has been calculated to ensure sustainable programming for the Loft. The normal cost for unsubsidized shows is about $10 per person. By supporting this referendum, one could pay more or less the same for a year of free shows rather than for just one.

To solve one of A.S. Council’s many supposed problems with how the UCAB is supported, a Loft referendum proposal was presented, but was marked as having no student oversight. Student oversight is another way of saying A.S. oversight. Those elected to positions within A.S. don’t like the idea of a space on campus, creating student community and campus life, without their involvement. By not allowing the campus to vote on a referendum, A.S. Council is preventing students from actually having a voice before they even have a chance to vote. Delaying the vote to Winter Quarter and thus forcing it to appear on a referendum in the Spring forces the Loft to stop offering what its campuswide following has come to expect.

The potential Winter Quarter Loft referendum was shot down due to lack of student control, not enough information and a rushed and incomplete presentation. These reasons for voting it down are incorrect. The Loft staff had been working with UCAB since last year on the referendum and the supposed fair debate and deliberating was quickly controlled, censored and decided by A.S. higher-ups before the discussion even began. The voice of the student body — the people who will actually have to pay for the Loft and can vote yes or no of their own accord — are not being heard.

Micah Jones

Student manager, the Loft

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