Under normal circumstances, it takes a lot to entice a former Gaucho to write in to the Nexus. Under normal circumstances, we’d be reluctant to waste your time and valuable sex column space giving you our opinions about things that are arguably none of our concern. That said, under normal circumstances, the student population would not be facing an omnibus $100 fee hike in a rushed, Fall Quarter special election.

So who the hell are we to talk? Count amongst us former leg council members, former chairs of A.S. committees and your last A.S. Internal Vice President… The guy who made this fiasco possible by pushing for a new A.S. constitution that effectively lowered the percentage of voters required to pass a new initiative. We’ve heard about the Students’ Initiative in detail. We don’t like it.

This initiative is sneaky, underhanded and downright dirty. The intention is to pile on as many large and diverse groups as you possibly can, knowing that their members will turn out and support it. Combine that with a rushed, single-issue special election where few people without a stake in it will vote, and you’ve got a recipe for a low-turnout affair where you just might be able to scrape together enough of your people to tip the count over 50 percent. That is unethical. Then you announce that any A.S. board or committee that doesn’t jump on board with a fee increase will still be subject to the five-year moratorium on A.S. fee increases, regardless of its future budgetary situation. That is blackmail. Finally, you attach fee measures that failed independently in the previous election, and allow the darn thing to swell up and become so large that the final dollar amount reaches 100 bucks per student, unless you decide to tick it up to $100.14, to “make it look more calculated.” That is stupid.

Having served in A.S. during the toughest financial times in its history, we know what it’s like to not have enough money to provide the representation and services that students need, much less the things that they might want. It sucks. Your hands are frequently tied. You are rarely able to create something new. You can barely maintain the committees and services that currently exist. We know better than anybody how badly A.S. and other student organizations need money, and we would be the last people to tell you to vote this down on account of “A.S. is sittin’ pretty.” A.S. is not “sittin’ pretty.” In fact, A.S. is in trouble. This initiative is not the solution to this trouble. Rather, it will create a whole new world of bad precedential shit that could throw the student government into political chaos, not to mention jacking up student fees by over 300 bucks a year, per student. We’re talking about a total windfall of over 5 million dollars here… that’s a hell of a lot of burritos.
Likewise, we also know and acknowledge that each of these worthy organizations could definitely make good use of the money they are asking for. Still, this is the wrong way to go about it. We would rather see A.S. and others suffer in the short term while they learn how to do things the right way than succeed in filling their empty coffers through this devious initiative.

A.S. doesn’t have to head down this road of darkly calculated politics to solve these financial problems. All it has to do is use the new tools it was given to make the truly airtight case that it, in fact, needs a base fee increase. On top of that, it needs to be honest with students about why it needs it and how much it actually needs. This $100 lump of bullshit isn’t fooling anyone, and we fear that if those in charge manage to get away with it, they won’t hesitate to do it again. Come on A.S, you know better than this. Come to your senses and try again in the spring. Vote “No” on the Students’ Initiative.

Adam Graff, Scott Talkov, Justin Pabian, Logan Green and Eric Cummings are all former members of A.S.