Editor, Daily Nexus:
You don’t need to be a political science student to know that every government needs money in order to be effective. Our own student government, Associated Students, is no exception. On the ballot this year is the Student Services and Activities Fee. The intent of this initiative is to give A.S. more money so they can continue to be effective.
Stop. I know what you’re thinking: What does A.S. do for me and why do they need even more of my money?
Although A.S. might appear only to be about Legislative Council, A.S. is much more than just a group of student politicians debating on a Wednesday night. Not to say that Leg Council isn’t an important part of student government, but A.S. also houses a number of important student organizations that directly affects you, the students. If your bike needs to be fixed, you can take it over to the bike shop on campus, which is run by A.S. If you want to go see a movie or a show for a reasonable price, you can see one put on by A.S.’s own Program Board. If you want to volunteer or get involved in community events, A.S. can help through their very own C.A.B. organization. If you want to get involved in activism and educate people about hot political issues such as the environment, racial equality and women’s rights, there is EAB, S.C.O.R.E. and the Women’s Commission. The list goes on and on. Even if you have never been involved in A.S., and even if you never plan to, everyone benefits from its presence on campus and in Isla Vista.
Why does A.S. need money? The answer is complex, but here are some of the facts. Presently, students pay $9.10 in the form of a “base fee” to A.S. This has remained the same since 1972. Given inflation and other economic factors, this figure is no longer large enough to financially sustain A.S. That is why the Student Services and Activities Fee is on the ballot this April. The initiative would raise the “base fee” by $5.90, bringing the grand total to $15 – the level that the base fee was in 1964, before it was reduced. Some might say it is time for our government to do more with less. Let it be pointed out that our student government has been doing more with less since 1972, and that it is time to admit that you can only stretch a dollar so far.
Without the increase, A.S. will be in the throngs of a major financial crisis next year. Many worthwhile organizations will receive minimal funding, effectively making them useless entities. Imagine our campus without them: A.S. Bike Shop – gone; notetaking – eliminated; S.C.O.R.E. – done away with; Environmental Affairs Board – cast aside; Woman’s Commission – out in the gutter; Extravaganza – no more. Without these organizations, UCSB would be a pretty gloomy place to go to school. It is for these reasons that the Social Action Coalition supports the Students Services Initiative.