Tensions were high today as I walked into the A.S. Council meeting to find the room completely filled with passionate students, all waiting to speak on behalf of their student organizations. They wanted A.S. to dip into the Mandated Reserves and fund their respective events.
A.S. Council has never seen so many different members from student organizations collaborating for the same cause. Tears were shed, walls were broken and emotion reverberated throughout the room.
MEChA member Aimee Nava spoke out on how MEChA has helped her assimilate into UCSD and how cutting funds for this organization will cause her to struggle greatly.
“As a student of color, these events make me feel like I’m more than a number,” Nava said. “I’m not just here to learn what the derivative of something is. I’m here to learn about communities.”
Once input from the public ended, the council began its discussion with A.S. President Andy Buselt urging the council to vote to fund programming events for student organizations.
“Tonight’s discussion is important because it will shape the Tritons’ experiences for the years to come,” Buselt said. “Setting us on a better course does not require us to punish students in Spring [Quarter] 2013.”
Campuswide Senator Jehoan Espinoza commented that this vote represents the entire student voice.
“This is the first time in a very long time that I see all these communities coming together for something that affects them all,” Espinoza said. “To vote for the students or against them, that’s what’s happening here.”
VP External Affairs Vanessa Garcia stressed that both parties are accountable for the lack of funding by not participating in the budget process earlier in the academic year.
“Not a single student organization came [to] the fall meeting of Week 5,” Garcia said. (Week 5 is when the budget is set.) “Student organizations, I wish you would’ve been active in coming to those meetings rather than us trying our hardest now to come up with a solution that may or may not be there.”
Revelle Senator Marco Vasquez disagreed with the vote on the measure that a 40-percent “dip” into the Mandated Reserves should only be used in a state of emergency.
“If we go through with this [vote] it will set the precedent that we have an obligation to fund all requests,” Vasquez said. “From my understanding, the bylaws are being violated.”
The bylaws require that the Referendum be passed with a three-quarters vote from A.S. Council. However, the council was attempting to bypass the bylaws to allow a majority vote on the Referendum, increasing the chance for drawing from the Mandated Reserves to pass.
APSA President and SAAC Representative Mason Fong spoke on the issue of transparency and how the fiscal guidelines must be stricter and clearer to all.
“We’re basing our programs off of last year, and we assume that the budget is the same,” Fong said. “If next year the budget is smaller, we will cut our programs. But please take social precedence into account with fiscal precedence.”
The vote passed, and $60,000 will be drawn from the Mandated Reserves for programming.