Associated Students is holding an electronic election Oct. 8-10 to pass initiatives that failed last spring or were vetoed by the UC Office of the President over the summer.
This is the first time AS has held a second election for an academic year.
It is also the first time the voting process will be conducted online. Ballots will be available through GOLD as an option on the main menu during the voting period. Vericos, the Internet company that is providing the voting option, will also be contacting students by e-mail the week before voting. The $6,020 electronic campaign is run by and partially paid for by the Campus Election Commission. AS is paying half of the bill.
“All summer the administration has been working to make this happen,” AS President Chrystine Lawson said. “If it happens successfully, we’ll be doing it online all the time.”
Proposition AS, the proposed AS fee increase, failed after the April 23-24 election and the MCC fee increase passed but was not approved by the University of California Office of the President. Representatives from other failed initiatives did not ask to be included on the ballot.
If passed, the $10 per quarter AS student fee will increase the existing $9.10 fee that has not been changed since 1972. Currently, AS has a budget of $645,168 to maintain facilities, staff salaries, student services, and funding for the 80 registered campus student groups.
Any initiative could be part of the special election, but AS will need to cut staff salaries and student organization funding immediately if theirs are not passed soon, Lawson said.
“Without this increase AS will not be able to sustain its current level of funding,” Lawson said. “When groups and organizations come to get funding for culture week, we’ll have no money to give them.”
The initiative must pass with 66 percent of the votes. When it was on the ballot during Spring elections, it failed by 1 percent – 140 votes.
“During spring elections, students get bombarded with information, but people don’t realize the effect of AS,” said Deanna Kavanaugh-Jones, the AS External Vice-President. “Student organizations have gotten up to $1,000. This is the first year they are not getting any money.”
The second initiative on the ballot is the Reaffirmation of the Multi-Cultural Center. Although this initiative passed in the spring election, it was not approved by the UCOP. The UCOP was concerned that student voters may not have been aware of the existing $0.75 per quarter student fee when voting on the additional $1 fee.
The fees allow the MCC to offer over 100 programs each year – 90 percent of them free to the public. Student organizations may also use the center for events, programs and meetings free of charge.
“We educate students on the issues of global conflict, international conflict, underrepresented groups and people with different sexual orientation,” said MCC Associate Director Viviana Marsano. “If the initiative doesn’t pass, we won’t be able to offer so many free events and we may have to shorten the hours we are open.”