Hooray, it’s election time. And no, I’m not referring to the played out Democratic Pennsylvania Primary. While Obama and Clinton prepare for what we all hope is a sudden political deathmatch, the people advertising themselves on sandwich boards all across campus are gearing up for their own final week of promotion. Having spent all last week muffling the sound of A.S. election debates by listening to my iPod at dangerously high decibel levels, I’m aware some people, somewhere, are running for something. For who or what? I don’t really know.
In previous years, if I felt inclined to vote in A.S. elections, I’d log onto GOLD and cast my ballot for those with the best-sounding names. During my freshman year, Jared Goldschen captured my vote because he appeared regularly around Carrillo Dining Commons. Of course I didn’t vote for him because of The Flush, but rather because he was good humored the one time I did talk to him. I said to him, “I think about you every time I take a dump,” to which Goldschen replied, “I get that a lot.” And that’s as close as I’ve ever gotten to understanding the Associated Students’ role, which is disturbing, considering the almost $250 I pay in A.S. fees annually.
OK, OK, so some of that money goes towards services we all use. Everyone uses the free air and oil at A.S. Bikes to help keep those wheels going ’round, right? A.S. allocates funds to the Isla Vista Tenants’ Union, which is a nice service on paper, but has thus far not magically taken care of the cancer-causing mold festering in my kitchen.
But what about the movie screenings in I.V. Theater or the Clinton tickets for the first 600 students to line up at 4 a.m. outside the A.S. Ticket Office? Pass. Between the disorganization of this year’s “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” screening and the mass chaos surrounding both Bill and Hilary Clinton’s presentations, I say keep it.
If you promise 600 tickets, don’t cut it off at 300 and justify it to angry students by citing an error in the original announcement. I was in line before the ass-crack of dawn for Bill Clinton tickets last year, convinced by those who’d spent half the morning counting I was definitely going to get a ticket. By 8 a.m., maybe I’d get a ticket. By ticket distribution time, so many cutters forced their way into the line we were told to go home. Anyone who stuck around to demand an explanation from the ticket distributors might remember a short, angry girl asking loudly to see the event supervisor who – big surprise – was no help.
Earlier this year, a member of the A.S. B.I.K.E.S. Committee begged me to take a “bike” survey he said would help improve biking life on campus. He handed me colored dots and told me to stick them on his map of campus where I thought improvement was needed. I must have gone through a sheet of stickers emphasizing the importance of increasing the number of bike racks in front of South Hall. Nothing happened except a similar table was set-up a few months later, which also resulted in zero.
The A.S. Web site has one Annual Cost Report listed on its site – and it’s from the 2005-06 school year. Among the items listed under “financed this year” are records of A.S. funds going toward organizations and events endemic to a small student population. You gave $1,325 to fund a greek “Krimson and Kreme” Ball? Uh, excuse me, but what population of the UC is actually part of a greek organization? You spent over $12,000 on something called “Greek Week” and over $10,000 on greek relays and dashes? I don’t have anything against the greek system – except for last week’s infuriating water-balloon throwing and water-gun shooting, which often seemed poorly aimed.
In contrast, National Coming Out Day received a meager $927. Some of the most worthwhile events and organizations seem blatantly shafted, and always because A.S. doesn’t have funds. Get it together, A.S. Let us help decide where our money goes, start noting those surveys and for everyone’s sake: Learn to budget.