Save Price Center: Vote on the UCAB Referendum

What does matter, is that UCSD students will soon have an opportunity to vote on a UCAB/UCEN referendum that, if passed, would increase student fees by $11 per quarter, with CPI–based increases on the horizon to fund Price Center, the Old Student Center, the Che Facility and the Crafts Center. Approval of the referendum’s text is currently pending the UC Office of the President’s approval and could be voted on as early as Week 2 of next quarter. Whenever the vote takes place, students should support the measure and put much needed funds into resources students actually use.

Opponents of the UCAB proposal will cry out about how such a hike is unfair to lower income students. Readers of the Guardian will remember that we very strongly endorsed passage of Proposition 30 last fall — which raised sales tax and some income taxes in California. Voters passed Prop. 30 and UC and California State University students were spared fee hikes that would have exceeded $2,000 this year alone.

The payoff of the UCEN fee increase is obvious. Virtually every student can benefit from one of the University Centers, especially when a provision of the measure calls for 24-hour access to computers and study rooms inside Price Center for at least four days a week. The Crafts Center, which closed unexpectedly for an unspecified period of time during Fall Quarter, will also get critical funding that will allow it to resume operation.

Needless to say, these centers are vital for student organizations as well. Dozens of organizations (including yours truly) as well as KSDT and the co-ops have offices in the Student Center or in Price Center, and funds raised by the increase will go into expanding operation and keeping up the level of maintenance students currently enjoy.

The increase comes in the form of exactly $1 a week — a far cry from other proposed increases (like one that called for nearly double that). Students currently pay around $230 a year to University Centers and annual CPI increases would not exceed 3 percent. Odds are, you’re reading this right now at a table outside Jamba Juice or (less likely) in the back of Hi-Thai. The rewards of UCEN fees are right in front of you.

The referendum’s text went through a long series of changes by A.S. Council and the Graduate Student Association. The final text of the initiative allots over 20 percent of the funds raised toward graduate student programming. With a final referendum that is favorable to all, there’s no real reason to vote against support your campus center resources.