A Stranded New Colony’s Not Worth the Burden

    A.S. president Utsav Gupta’s dream to create a UCSD football team may be untimely and superfluous, but at least a motley blue-and-gold fleet is something that students can wrap their heads around.

    The latest brainchild of our overambitious leader, on the other hand, is a mystery and a mouthful. Gupta wants to set up a 501(3)(c) organization — a financially independent branch of student government called A.S. Auxiliary — run by a yet-to-be-appointed board of students and community members.

    Sound boring? It is. And while we endlessly admire UCSD’s masthead poli-nerd for his enthused devotion to taming budgets and committees and evil administrators (and for answering our phone calls at 2 a.m.), it’s dangerous to open up more fee pools and accountable seats — especially when all those expected to pay and govern aren’t particularly interested.

    Especially dangerous considering Gupta only has two quarters — and shrinking — to make a sovereign A.S. subsector something his successors care about, let alone understand.

    It does sound pretty sweet to bust from university ties like a pack of tax-exempt renegades. Under the auxiliary branch, A.S. Council would be able to provide services the university currently prohibits it to offer, like off-campus housing.

    Thing is, land purchase in La Jolla is the only example Gupta and Co. can seem to muster. Particularly, upon which to raise a frat row. (Come on — if we wanted to be San Diego State, we would have just elected Adam Teitelbaum last spring.)

    Not that affordable student housing isn’t practical. And it’s nice to see Gupta making good on another of his campaign promises, which hasn’t exactly been a trend in council history.

    But funded solely by a voluntary $5 quarterly fee Gupta is proposing, he says this auxiliary branch wouldn’t be able to purchase the land until maybe 50 years from now. Yet that’s only if a full 10 percent of the student body — clueless to its proposed purpose — agrees to pay. And who’s to say appointees in 25 years won’t decide there’s something more pressing on hand — say, a giant meteor hurtling toward Earth — and apply student fees toward that?

    This would be one of those fees that hoards of students end up paying while very few reap the benefits, and very far in the future. A.S. Vice President of Finances Peter Benesch agrees it will be almost impossible to raise the amount of money needed to accomplish much anytime soon, and thinks it more feasible to hit up fraternity and sorority alumni to help us realize any dreams of Greek housing.

    A 501(3)(c) organization is not inherently a bad idea; it would avoid taxes on whichever fees or donations did end up there, and could serve as a nifty middle finger to counter the administrative iron fist. But even if Gupta can convince the student body to vote it into existence on the A.S. ballot next quarter, the auxiliary branch will ultimately open up one more avenue for A.S. negligence.

    There are already mountains of perfectly good abandoned committees and fish-netted proposals waiting in the wings of Price Center East for someone to take responsibility. Creating a brand-new mini A.S. council — even a lean, mean budgetary bad boy like this one — may be less important than maximizing the capabilities of the old.

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