At Long Last, the Drawn-out Loft Saga Comes to a Close

Awet Wednesday night and a leaking fourth-floor forum didn’t hinder the A.S. Council from finally deciding the fate of the Loft Referendum.

Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Penny Rue first addressed the council. She discussed planning for the next fiscal year, and warned councilmembers that Student Affairs programs will be cut further due to the growing state deficit.

But Rue’s presentation wasn’t entirely filled with depressing statistics — she spoke of UCSD’s coming 50th anniversary during the 2010-11 academic year, and the festivities and flair surrounding the anticipated yearlong celebration.

About two of the six total hours the council dedicated to the Loft discussion consisted of debate between two different proposals for Loft oversight. The council discussed President Utsav Gupta’s suggestion to create a Loft Governance Board, as well as University Center Advisory Board Chair Jordan Taylor’s recommendation that the existing committee continue regulating the Loft.

The council voted 16-11 in favor of Taylor’s proposal over Gupta’s. Once the governing body proposal was finalized, the council amended the referendum line by line.

Once the language of the Loft Referendum was passed a few hours later, the council took to debate over whether or not the referendum should appear on the Spring 2010 ballot.

Strong arguments were heard from both sides.

“The Loft is a part of student life,” Taylor said. “We saw 1,500 student signatures in support, and if that’s not enough to convince you that this needs to go to a student vote, then I don’t know what is.”

AVP Enterprise Operations Rishi Ghosh was a vocal opponent against the referendum.

“When education funds have gone down dramatically, why are we entertaining the idea of funding entertainment?” Ghosh said. “It’s frivolous to what I think is our core function as a governing body.”

Muir College Senator Lynne Swerhone summed up the arguments nicely: “I feel like no one’s going to read this proposal,” she said, and the room filled with snaps in agreement.

After three more hours of debate and a 20-7-1 vote, the council decided that the Loft referendum will appear on the Spring Quarter 2010 ballot. A round of applause followed — the decision was made just past 1 a.m.

During question time, Sixth College Senator Kevin Nguyen and Warren College Senator Alyssa Wing appeared before the council, armed with a colorful poster that read, “Associated Students, will you go to Spirit Night with me?” Nguyen and Wing, in a continuation of their senator project, insisted on A.S. Council support at the Jan. 30 basketball game against Cal State San Bernardino.

After a long eight hours, the council retired for the night, and Marshall Chair Tanvir Dhillon graciously offered a ride so fellow councilmembers wouldn’t have to walk home in the rain.