Transportation Referendum to Appear on Week 8 Special Ballot

After several revisions, students will vote during Week 8 on a final transportation referendum, which, if passed, would raise fees by around $50 per quarter. 

Bike Lane by Taylor Sanderson
Photo by Taylor Sanderson/Guardian

The transportation referendum will officially appear in a special election ballot during Week 8 of Spring Quarter 2014 after the final language was approved by the Graduate Student Association on Monday, April 7.

It was originally scheduled to appear in a special election during Winter Quarter 2014, but the Vice Chancellor and Chancellor’s offices were not satisfied with the content of the referendum, calling it too ambiguous. The referendum was then rewritten with the exact benefits detailed and the price lowered and was scheduled to appear on the general election ballot Week 2 of Spring Quarter 2014.

But due to what was largely reported as revisions from the UC Office of the President, the referendum was once again pushed to a later date. However, GSA President Rahul Kapadia explained at the meeting that the referendum was pushed back due to omitted sentences that were required by the GSA and the A.S. Council constitutions.

When a referendum is being written within the UC, UCOP reviews potential referenda and gives advice on the language. However, none of its recommendations are necessarily mandated if the author of the referendum can clarify a discrepancy.

“In general, UCOP looks at referendums as a courtesy,” UC spokesperson Brooke Converse told the UCSD Guardian. “This courtesy is to ensure that there are no mistakes in language that could invalidate a referendum.”

ASUCSD MOVES Director Kyle Heiskala explained that changes advised by UCOP led to the omission of phrases necessary in all referenda by GSA and A.S. constitutions. These sentences were conditions of the referendum and, according to Heiskala, mostly were concerned with financial aid.

According to Kapadia, the absence of these necessary sentences was noticed by GSA Vice President of Internal Affairs Ted Stinson the day after GSA passed the referendum language. In order to comply with A.S. and GSA constitutional policies, the referendum language was revised and therefore had to be passed by A.S. Council, the GSA and the Vice Chancellor’s office for a third time, causing the delay.

“Balancing the extensive and, at times, contradictory requirements of these various agencies is a difficult task that could not have been accomplished without the cooperative efforts of numerous student government members and university administrative officials,” Stinson said. “All the people who participated in this process are equally responsible for the excellent referendum that will be presented to students for a vote this spring.”

Heiskala agreed that working with so many agencies led to unforeseen difficulties and time constraints. The abnormally large number of groups that the referendum was written or had to be approved by included A.S. Council, GSA, the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs’s Office, the Vice Chancellor of Resource Management and Planning’s Office, the Chancellor’s Office, UCOP, MTS and Transportation and Parking Services.

Students will vote on the referendum in a special election on TritonLink during Week 8.