Over the summer, the UC Office of the President rescinded a UC Santa Barbara lock-in fee, passed by students in the Spring 2002 election, due to a problem with ballot language.
UCOP rejected the MultiCultural Center lock-in this July because the ballot failed to indicate that the MCC had a standing lock-in fee of 75 cents per quarter, reaffirmed by students in the Spring 2001 election.
“We did it all in good faith,” MCC Director Zeveeni Khan-Marcos said. “We were not trying to hide the fact that we already had the 75 cent lock-in fee.”
Before any lock-in fee can go into effect, it must be reviewed and approved by the Chancellor and UCOP. Chancellor Yang did not reject the lock-in; however, UCOP discovered the ballot omission and canceled implementation of the $1 quarterly lock-in.
The Campus Elections Committee approved the ballot language of the MCC lock-in fee prior to last Spring’s election, apparently failing to catch the error.
The campus and MCC were not informed of the election guidelines imposed by UCOP, leaving the decision as to which fee measures pass and which fail to the whim of UCOP staff and administrators, Khan-Marcos said.
UCOP says it has no personal stake in what lock-in fees are approved so long as the campuses follow university election guidelines.
“We don’t take a stand on those fees. It’s up to the students and the chancellors to decide [what lock-in fees to allow],” UCOP spokesman Hanan Eisenman said.
The MCC has chosen not to appeal the UCOP’s decision and will instead focus on regaining the fee in a special fall Associated Students election.
“Instead of fighting it, we are being patient and having faith in the students,” Khan-Marcos said. “We are putting our energy into educating students about the lock-in.”
Khan-Marcos said regaining the lock-in fee would allow the MCC to better serve students by increasing their eight-member staff and continuing to allow students free use of the facility.
“[The] MCC works as a catalyst for diversity at UCSB,” Khan-Marcos said. “It’s an open, free space for everyone; everyone feels welcome here.”
The MCC was founded in 1988 after students of color demanded the creation of a welcoming and safe place to meet.
“The existence of [the] MCC is a result of students. It was a result of student protest,” Khan-Marcos said. “It’s truly a place that is funded by students, for the students.”
About eighty percent of the MCC’s use is by students – first priority is given to students – MCC Assistant Director Viviana Marsano said. Over 50 student groups are affiliated with the MCC, which regularly hosts events including lectures, films, music, drama and poetry readings. All events are open to the general public and are usually free of charge both to the audiences and performers.
“The MCC strives to educate people about equality. And that’s a very important mission for us,” Khan-Marcos said. “To educate people from different backgrounds, cultural identities, sexual orientations and ethnicities, we use a variety of means to increase awareness and make it a comfortable awareness for people of color.”