Letters to the Editor do not reflect the opinions or beliefs of the UCSD Guardian.
There is no doubt that the current COVID-19 pandemic has caused massive turmoil throughout the nation on all fronts. This turmoil is all too familiar to UCSD students. Without much of a warning, a rapidly changing situation left much of the student body anxious and concerned about the uncertainty of the future. For many, these changes (moving to online coursework, social-distancing rules, etc.) left them without a stable source of income. Many on and off-campus students still continue to pay rent or spend money for basic necessities in the face of shortages.
It came as no surprise, then, that students from all colleges took to social media to urge student government groups such as AS and college councils to return their unspent student fees. Some of these proactive students even took to making petitions or spur public outcry; going so far as to urge Chancellor Khosla to refund tuition costs.
Unfortunately, the reality is that this is not that simple. While, at least as of writing, certain college councils are working on ways to return student activity fees, it seems as though refunding is an insurmountable task. Other groups like AS and the UCSD administration have noted that particular refunds or decreases in tuition are not feasible. This has left many students frustrated since they are still paying full price for tuition and student fees while listening to podcasts in their home miles away from campus.
You can imagine my shock, then, given the current climate when I went on social media to see posts regarding the upcoming elections made in poor taste. BOLD, according to their finance report, has spent hundreds of dollars on Cameos from C-list celebrities and $200 on an art commission made in support of their campaign. I find it disheartening that there is so much animosity towards AS in the first place, but spending exuberant amounts of money on promotion that is unlikely to sway voters is absurd. It will only serve to create a greater divide between the students and those seeking to hold positions in next year’s AS.
If students have already created such a strong outrage in support of returning student activity fees (which range around the $10 mark depending on the college), imagine how these same students may feel knowing that a group spent $70 to have Drake Bell utter their name?
What these students (I included) want is change, not the status quo we have been given time after time. And, given the economic turmoil and global destruction COVID-19 has caused, what many want to see is a student government who puts their needs first. After all, if all of your campaign goals can be placed on a large bingo card, maybe these promises are being a bit too vague?
What I want to see is action, not hundreds of dollars being thrown into the trash for flashy promotion and useless celebrity endorsements. When worse comes to worse and students clamor for basic needs, will we all think that those hundreds of dollars spent on advertising were put to good use? After all, there is a difference between paying for ads on social media and wasting away hundreds more on art and Cameos that serve little purpose but to spit in the faces of those who are experiencing difficult times.
Ian McKeever – Former Muir Senator
Photograph by UCSD Guardian Photographer Hazel Leung.
This article was updated at 3:36PM on May 16th to correct the title of the author.