After garnering enough petition signatures to secure a place on the campus-wide ballot, the Associated Students Community Affairs Board (CAB) now hopes to win enough votes for its CAB Foundation initiative.
The initiative calls for a $0.85 per undergraduate, per quarter — including Summer Sessions — lock-in fee that will create a student-administered fund for community volunteer events, Andres Mantilla, CAB external community coordinator, said. Students will decide on the proposal in the spring campus-wide elections, scheduled to take place during the week of April 24-27.
CAB Public Relations Officer Robby Cousart said the group had a similar program for many years — also named the “CAB Foundation” — until 2003 when UC budget constraints forced its closure. By cutting the program, CAB freed funds to go toward services such as the Family Literacy program, which provides tutors for primary school students, and the Best Buddies program, which helps developmentally disabled children.
CAB needed to collect signatures from about 15 percent of the undergraduate population — about 2,711 names — by Feb. 7 to put its initiative on the spring campus-wide elections ballot.
“Now that we have collected these signatures, we need 50 percent plus one during the actual vote in order to get the measure approved,” CAB chair Christina Leets said. “Collecting signatures also helped with getting our name out.”
According to the language in the petition, about one-third of the lock-in fee funds would be redirected to the Return-to-Aid program, which subsidizes financial aid recipients’ campus-based fees. The surcharge on the lock-in is part of a new UC policy stating that a percentage of all new lock-in fees as well as lock-in fees being reaffirmed will go toward Return-to-Aid.
For the past two years, student voters have rejected CAB’s initiatives to increase its $1.15 per undergraduate per quarter lock-in fee, which Cousart said netted CAB about $19,780 during fall quarter.
Leets said CAB is anxious to avoid confusion about the nature of its newest initiative because of its previous experience at the polls. Leets, a fourth-year psychology and art history major, said CAB cannot use the Foundation’s money unless it applies for funds and gains approval.
“We have three years of experience campaigning now, and we know what worked and what didn’t,” Leets said. “When we requested a lock-in fee before, it was specifically for CAB. With this initiative, CAB can apply for funds, but so can any group.”
Cousart, a fourth-year political science major, said he does not foresee CAB applying for funding from the foundation very often. The group hopes that this tactic, in addition to the increased support it has seen this year at its meetings, will help capture the votes needed to recreate the foundation.
“We’re excited about the support we’ve gotten,” Leets said. “We were short by about 120 votes last year [for the lock-in increase]. We have about two times more people showing up to our meetings now, though, and we’re hoping that the presence we’ve asserted will help us.”
If the initiative passes, a panel consisting of three to five students headed by a CAB appointee and overseen by the CAB advisor, Associate Director of Community Affairs James To, would administer the funds. Cousart said all students would be able to apply for a position on the panel.
“We are still trying to figure out the number of students that will be on the panel,” Cousart said. “We don’t want to slow down groups that are applying for funds with too much bureaucracy.”
Though rules prohibiting the distribution of campaign literature are in place until the first week of spring quarter, Mantilla said CAB is already planning how they will publicize.
“There are a lot of ideas being thrown out about how best to reach students,” Mantilla, a fourth-year political science major, said. “We will mainly be doing publicity on campus and trying to reach out to people in the dorms.”
Cousart said the group also plans to set up booths to encourage students to vote in the elections. However, he said they will not specifically mention CAB so as to avoid any misconception that the money will go directly to CAB.
“We won’t be telling them to vote specifically for our initiative, only trying to get out the vote,” Leets said.
Like it did for its lock-in fee increase proposal last year, CAB has chosen to get its proposal on the ballot through making it a campus-wide initiative, as opposed to placing it as an A.S. initiative. A campus-wide measure must collect signatures from 15 percent of undergraduates to be listed on the ballot. A.S. initiatives can be introduced without petitioning but require a 66 percent approval rating to go into effect. Campus-wide initiatives only need 50 percent plus one for approval.