Associated Students Student Lobby is trying to interest students in sixty-nine — that is, its 69-cent lock-in fee on this quarter’s campus election ballot.
The group is seeking 69 cents per undergraduate student per quarter to help the fund the organization’s efforts to fight for students’ rights on a local, statewide and national level, Student Lobby vice chair Kelly Burns said. The roughly 25-person organization needs a lock-in fee because recent cuts to the A.S. budget have decreased the amount of money available to the group, Student Lobby chair Lance Tackett said. In order to pass, two-thirds of the undergraduate electorate must approve it in the election, held on GOLD on April 18-21.
Burns said Student Lobby deserves the lock-in fee because the organization seeks to improve student life.
“Despite being one of the largest A.S. groups in the UC system and recent increases in A.S. Student Lobby membership, we have no lock-in fee, and therefore, no guaranteed money,” Burns said.
Tackett said the A.S. budget process allotted about $2,000 to the organization this year, compared to $500 in 2003. In prior years, the organization received as much as $5,000 to $10,000 annually through A.S. Finance Board, he said. Budget cuts have also limited the amount of money Finance Board gives to the group, Tackett said.
The group has also received money through grants, including two grants from the Isla Vista Community Relations Committee (IVCRC) for its “Fall Defensive” campaign. The campaign sought to counter the I.V. Foot Patrol’s “Fall Offensive” — a crackdown on underage drinking in I.V. Organizers said they believe the IVFP often oversteps its bounds and violates students’ rights.
“We sent out letters and packets to I.V. residents for the Fall Defensive,” Burns said. “We want to keep IVFP accountable.”
The packets included SB County Sheriff’s Dept. complaint forms, a list of violations for which students are most commonly arrested, advice on what to say when approached by an officer and pointers on how to throw a party without attracting police attention.
Burns said IVCRC gave Student Lobby $2,100 to pay for the packets. The second grant of $1,380 was used to advertise the program. Although they help, Tackett said grants are not guaranteed and the group cannot count on them. He also said channeling money from another A.S. entity — like IVCRC — is not a sustainable way to run A.S.
Tackett said the group also organizes trips to Sacramento and Washington, D.C. to lobby legislatures on issues such as lowering UC student fee increases and restoring funding to financial aid programs.
“Currently, activities are limited by funding,” Tackett said. “At times, we don’t even have enough to go to Sacramento. Sometimes, those funds come out of the pockets of Student Lobby members.”