Within the past month the Daily Nexus (“Fuzzy Math,” April 17, 2003) and Jonathan Kalinski (Daily Nexus, “The Daves-Rougeaux Show,” May 5, 2003) have managed to publish two of the most insulting and grossly inaccurate columns I have read during my time at UCSB.
First, not only is Mr. Kalinski’s attempt to equate Don Daves-Rougeaux to Saddam Hussein insulting to the profound suffering that millions of Iraqis, Kurds and Iranians endured under his regime, it is entirely inaccurate. After having worked closely with Don on multiple committees and on multiple elections I can safely say that he is anything but dictatorial. I have found that Don takes his role as a mentor and educator of student leaders very seriously and, as a result, often has suggestions and opinions for how A.S. should operate. This is precisely the role that the executive director should adopt. A.S. is an environment in which students can engage in leadership activities while learning how to run meetings, make governmental decisions, craft policies, manage budgets, etc. Don’s job is to oversee this activity and to provide encouragement and criticism when necessary.
Further, there seems to be an impression held by both the Daily Nexus and Mr. Kalinski that attempts by Don to raise money for A.S. are self-interested efforts to increase his personal wealth. This accusation has absolutely no basis in reality, and I find it quite appalling that the Daily Nexus would even publish it. Don, like all A.S. staff members, is subject to the same pay scales that all other university employees are. Any money that is raised by A.S. from an increase in the base fee or any other source does not go into Don’s, or anyone else’s, pocket. The idea that A.S. staff is attempting to extort money from students is utterly ridiculous. The Office of the President and two-thirds of the student body must approve requests for increased or additional funding from A.S. fees. Staff members could not extort money even if they tried.
Kalinksi and the Daily Nexus also seem to have a variety of misconceptions regarding this year’s general election. I can assure Mr. Kalinski and the Daily Nexus that the sliding scale constitutional amendment on the ballot this year was not the “brainchild” of Don. The sliding scale has existed on this campus for over a decade and has been used to approve a variety of student fees without complaint from campus media or the Office of the President. The A.S. Elections Committee has been tossing around the idea of changing the A.S. fee approval mechanism to match that of the campuswide initiatives since a number of years before Don was hired. The decision to go forward with this amendment was based on two things: First, the existence of two different systems unfairly hindered the ability of A.S. to raise money vis-ˆ-vis other campuswide organizations; second, from the standpoint of providing a clear and fair election, it did not seem reasonable to have two different standards for the approval of student fees.
Finally, Mr. Kalinski is woefully misinformed regarding the distribution of information during the election. First, the decision to have a weeklong online election was not made by Don; it was my idea and was approved by the A.S. Elections Committee and the Campus Elections Commission. The idea behind extending the election in this manner was that we thought we could increase turnout if the election were held over a longer period of time. Second, despite what Mr. Kalinski says, I never had access to the election results during the election. I was not given any access codes and did not leak any information. Only Don and Joe Navarro had direct access to the results. In the future I would advise Mr. Kalinski and the Daily Nexus to check their facts before they start publishing insulting comparisons, vulgar misconceptions and outright lies.
Jim Keenley is the chair of Associated Students Elections Committee and of the Campus Elections Commission.