Addressing Statements From Editorial Wish List

Dear Editor,

On behalf of the Well-being Cluster Student Advisory Board, we are writing in response to the opinion piece “What We’re Wishing for in 2014.” WCSAB is a board comprised of student representatives that work with staff from the well-being cluster to help identify students’ well-being needs and promote campus well-being. We hold open meetings starting at 5 p.m. on Monday’s of weeks 2, 4, 6 and 8 at Murray’s Place in Student Health Services. In this piece, there were several inaccurate statements that we would like to address.

1. Regarding the statement of “in 2014, we don’t want to pay out of our own pockets for the administration’s costly mistakes…” in the “someone to save our SHIP,” it is correct and widely known that the plan incurred a $61 million deficit since it began operating, and it is true that a large portion of that debt was incurred by UCSD. However, it has always been the understanding that this is not the fault of the students. The premiums were set too low by our previous actuarial firm, Aon Hewitt, and as such, the UC Regents have sued Aon Hewitt for their negligence and mismanagement. The students will NOT pay this $61 million deficit, but UC Office of the President will pay; however, any deficit incurred going forward will be the students’ responsibility. The good news is that we have a new firm who is committed to making SHIP viable and sustainable and financial reports from this year show that the plan is in the black.

2. Regarding the statement of “campus should also do more to help students quit and be lenient with fines …” in the “support for students affected by the UC-wide smoking ban,” UCSD is currently in the educational stages of enforcement of the smoking policy and therefore has not implemented any fines related to this policy. While fines may be implemented in the future, the administration of UCSD strongly believes in educating students. Lastly, our campus through Student Health Services does provide many resources in helping students quit, such as free nicotine replacement and cessation programs. Students can also call the free California smokers helpline (1-800-NO-BUTTS).

3. Regarding the statement of “we hope the newly created Task Force can increase its transparency and get students on board with its changes” in the “clear communication between students and the Sun God Task Force,” the Sun God Festival Task Force has made every effort to be transparent from the very beginning by opening all of their meetings to the public and posting all of their minutes online at www.vcsa.ucsd.edu/committees/sungod/index.html. They recently came to present to our board and were able to answer our questions and clear up some misconceptions. They are making presentations to various student organizations that would like more information about the new changes to this year’s festival. We encourage you to familiarize yourself with their website, as well as to invite them to your office.

Charlotte Chiu and Stephanie Bailey

Co-Chairs of WCSAB

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