A proposed bill to allow student groups to accept funding from cigarette companies drew intense debate at yesterday’s meeting of the Associated Students Legislative Council.
The council met Wednesday at the UCen and discussed a bill to strike down Policy Six of the A.S. Constitution, which prohibits A.S. organizations from sponsoring UCSB functions affiliated with or funded by tobacco companies.
Off-campus Representative Jared Renfro, author of the bill proposing to get rid of Policy Six, said the policy “nullifies the student’s ability to choose for themselves what type of event or promotion they could support” and that “striking Policy Six will increase funding for student events.”
During the discussion, several representatives, including Adam Graff and Lance Tackett, voiced their opposition to the bill.
“Smoking is not a personal decision; if someone’s smoking on campus, it affects me and I have many constituents that would be very opposed,” Tackett said in response to the bill’s statement that smoking is a personal health decision.
Representative-at-large Kristen Ditlevsen said she supported the bill because it is not always obvious which potential corporate sponsors are affiliated with tobacco companies.
“Other companies are involved in the manufacture of cigarettes – for example, companies like Kodak, which make the papers,” Ditlevsen said. “We could be unknowingly supporting tobacco companies.”
Renfro said the bill would allow tobacco companies to become potential sponsors, but that the decision to accept funding would “still be at the discretion of groups and committees whether to allow funding.”
A motion was passed to table the bill until next week to allow time for more research on the existing policy and to wait until the bill’s student sponsor could appear to speak for the bill.
At Monday’s meeting of the A.S. Finance Board, there was some confusion over the Office of Student Life’s request for funding for an upcoming leadership conference. Associate Dean of Students Carolyn Buford made a report to the council in an attempt to address council members’ concerns that OSL did not first look to funds from its own student lock-in fee before asking A.S. Buford said she requested donations from A.S. because they have co-sponsored the conference for the last eight years.
“Apparently, there were some who felt OSL was misappropriating money or misusing money,” Buford said. “I want you to know we’re being very careful with student money and will continue to do so.”
External Vice President of Local Affairs Logan Green, who has been active in the Isla Vista Recreation and Parks District, gave his officer’s report on local projects, like the upcoming I.V. community center.
“The community center is probably the biggest thing that happened to I.V. in 20 years,” Green said. “We’ve got an architect and now we have three months to decide what we want it to look like.”
There will be a meeting on Feb. 7 from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in I.V. Theater to discuss what features and services the center should include.