In its first meeting of the 2002-03 school year, Associated Students Legislative Council began its year with a concession to opponents of increased student fees for student government and the MultiCultural Center.

Alex Gossage, a university-owned housing representative, proposed giving $400 to UCSB student Reza Alef to run a campaign against both a proposition to raise A.S.’s basic services fee and the MultiCultural Center’s lock-in fee. Associated Students has $800 available to fund campaigning. Gossage’s proposal was passed by Leg Council as an emergency action because the special election is less than a week away.

Proposition A.S. is a lock-in fee measure, which will be voted on in a special election next week. A.S. hopes students will vote in favor of the $10-per-quarter increase in the fees they pay to A.S. each quarter. During last spring’s regular elections, a $8-per-quarter increase to the A.S. base fee failed by 188 votes, just shy of the two-thirds yes vote the A.S. constitution requires for a fee hike. In 2001, a $5.90-per-quarter increase also failed. The base fee pays for A.S.’s employees and also funds events throughout the school year. It has not been raised since 1972.

Voters approved a $1-per-quarter increase in the MCC’s lock-in fee last spring, but the UC Office of the President overturned the results, saying the ballot was flawed because it did not mention the MCC’s existing lock-in fee of $0.75 per quarter.

Gossage said A.S. should fund Alef’s campaign because he currently represents the only counter-campaign to the fee increases.

“I think it’s hypocritical for us to allocate ourselves money but deny it to the opposition,” Gossage said. “This is the only opposition; his voice should be heard.”

Alef requested $200-per-ballot measure from the fund, effectively halving resources available to A.S.’s current campaigns. Off-campus Housing Representative Jared Renfro expressed support for opposition appropriations, however, he suggested reducing Alef’s request to $100 per issue, totaling $200.

“If he wanted $100 an issue, I would support it,” Renfro said. “But I think $200 an issue – half our fund – is way too much. We don’t have that much money to start.”

A.S. President Chrystine Lawson, who has been campaigning for the base fee increase, also agreed that the fee’s opponents should receive funding from A.S., but she said there were risks involved in giving Alef such a large portion of the total fund.

“I think that it is very important for us to give money to an opposition group, I can’t stress it enough,” she said. “But maybe we should consider giving him less money … $100 an issue is more appropriate in case another opposition group arises in the spring requesting more money.”

Several representatives disagreed with any appropriations at all, citing the large portion of funding that would be unavailable to A.S. in the campaign.

“Our job isn’t to have a good image in the Daily Nexus, they’ll hang us anyway,” said Off-campus Housing Representative Josh Gottlieb. “We can’t just give away half our funds. This money is for this purpose, we need it and we can’t give it away.”