The honeymoon for myself and the Nexus is over. Here’s why: First off, in Friday’s staff editorial (“Failed to Impress: Associated Students’ Campaigning Turns Students Off With Misinformation,” Nov. 19), the writer accuses Associated Students of misinforming the student body about the ramifications and intentions behind the A.S. Initiative. Excuse me — we’re misinforming the students? Let’s take a look at your “no” endorsement, Mr. Nexus. To paraphrase, the Isla Vista Community Relations Committee (IVCRC) gave money to A.S. Student Lobby, so why can’t A.S. get funding from outside sources? Wait a sec, did you note that IVCRC is an A.S. committee? We got the money for the shirts and campaign signs/literature entirely from private donations, mostly from alumni. Did you bother to ask us where that money came from before you insinuated that we raided the treasury to fund our campaign?
“The fee increase gives the student body no control whatsoever in where the money goes.” Do you mean that the president, Legislative Council and Finance Board have ultimate say over how the budget looks? Wow! That couldn’t possibly be because we are elected representatives of the student body, could it? Oh, there’s not enough turnout to validate the power we have? Well, maybe if students want to have a say in this process, they should take the time to investigate these issues and actually vote in the elections. Better yet, they should run for office. And don’t even think about saying that the party system prohibits most students from getting through the front door — Students’ Party is living proof that a new party can take over A.S. over the course of one election cycle.
Getting back to the issue of student oversight of the A.S. money, did you bother to mention that our budget is published and is available to anyone who comes to our office to request it? Did you mention that our Finance Board and Leg Council meetings are open and held at the same time and location every quarter? Did you mention that Legislative Council has to approve Finance Board’s minutes every week and therefore has the authority to overturn any financial decision of any one of its committees, or that we have a public comment period that lasts as long as the public wants to speak? No, you didn’t. Oh, and before I forget: A.S. will become further transparent come Winter Quarter, when the first A.S. annual report is released and made available via the Internet.
Speaking of our budget, I’m looking at it right now. Guess what I found? That’s right – lock-in #325: Daily Nexus, $2.55 a year. You’ve had it since 1979. You’re right, we don’t recharge the Nexus lock-in fee, but we do manage it, and though you’d be hard-pressed to admit it, without A.S., you couldn’t have your lock-in fee. Of course, you wouldn’t mind refusing that money and trying to run the fee through somewhere else, and since you’re so adamant that you don’t fall under our jurisdiction, you wouldn’t be upset if we try to complete the divorce by eliminating that lock-in. I’m sure you’ll get it passed – we need a student paper – but, come to think of it, why are you getting a lock-in at all when you charge for your advertising space? Don’t other papers get all their revenue from advertising? Why should you be any different?
I’ve heard a lot of arguments made about why we failed. Some folks are angry that A.S. annually spends a paltry $7,327.75 to pay for the fees of each executive officer, officers who barely have the time to go to class, much less get a paying job that will cover their tuition expenses. Others still don’t know what it is that we do. A.S. is not a piggy bank for student groups. A.S. is the elected student government, a government that interfaces with the administration on student behalf. It provides services such as recycling, notetaking, the ticket window and free concerts/events, and also provides funding so that student organizations can spend time planning events, without wondering where they can come up with the money to put them on. Hopefully, we’ll do a better job of making that clear over the remainder of this year. Rest assured, we’re not going away any time soon.
Adam Graff is an off-campus representative for A.S. and a third-year biology major.