Ask a majority of students at UCSD, and they would be hard-pressed to tell you why Porter’s Pub is closing or what people are talking about when they use acronyms like GSA or UCAB or VCSA. The problem here isn’t that A.S. Council and student groups like University Centers Advisory Board aren’t transparent about their decisions with students. In fact, they are more than happy to share information if curious students ask for it. No, the problem is realistically that students don’t care and, more importantly, that A.S. Council and similar student bodies aren’t dedicated enough to make sure that students are educated on these major campus issues.
There are many solutions for this issue, and a room full of intelligent elected student officials should make it their business to find them. Off the bat, students would care more if they knew just the names and functions of the student bodies that affect their student experiences so fundamentally. Maybe more information could be presented during orientations or be incorporated into college emails. Students would also probably care more if things were put in terms of their own money: Around $50 of student fees, which all students pay each quarter, go to A.S Council.
Maybe A.S. Council doesn’t care about student input as much as it says it does because one way to get better input is to get it from more commissions like the All Campus Commuter Board or the Women’s Commission. But some members of A.S. Council have tried to have representative groups like these removed from their meetings. When you consider that many of the students who made decisions on the closing of Che Cafe had never been to an event there, it becomes clear that A.S. Council needs to listen to more students who care not fewer.
The lack of student input caused by this is dangerous for students and their representatives, and A.S. Council needs to make it a point to effectively solve this problem.