Following a lengthy discussion concerning an environmental General Education requirement, the Associated Students Legislative Council voted down a bill in support of research on the new requirement during the council’s last meeting of this school year.
Environmental Affairs Board member Ingrid Avison, a third-year environmental studies major, said the new GE would reinforce UCSB’s reputation as an environmentally aware university.
“It is necessary for every student to graduate with at least some environmental consciousness,” Avison said.
Off-campus Representative Darshan Grover said passing the bill would be equivalent to exploring the GE, not implementing the requirement.
“Considering that we have over 1,500 signatures on this, we should at least investigate it,” Grover said. “This is not saying that we have to have this GE or not have this GE, just that we should look at it.”
However, Off-campus Representative Joe Cole said the GE would be unpopular with the student population.
“There is absolutely no one that I know outside this room that would be up for taking another class,” Cole said. “I can’t support this because I know the student body does not.”
Rep-at-large Husayn Hasan said supporting the new requirement, which would prompt its implementation and would set a standard for the introduction of more GEs.
“We already have the MCP trying to cram kids with 16 units, budget cuts taking away services and reducing the number of classes and professors,” Hasan said. “How’s this going to happen? This creates a slippery slope for the implementation of more GEs. I don’t want any more GEs coming in.”
Off-campus Rep Topher Kindell, on the other hand, said the effects of the budgets cuts have not yet been felt so the council should not make their decisions based on its possible ramifications.
“The classes are already there, it’s just applying the GE requirement toward them,” Kindell said. “We’re basing our opinion off of something proposed to us that might not even occur in the future. It’s unfair to disregard the present.”
Similarly, Rep-at-large Paula Reever said the new requirement would not increase student consciousness on the subject but act as an intrusion on students’ right to choose their own classes.
“I don’t think that making it a requirement will make it any more substantial an issue,” Reever said. “Everyone is already aware of environmental issues. We learn about them at school without taking this class. I don’t understand why it has to be a requirement. Students should take classes that they want to take. You’re paying for your own education; us imposing stuff on other students is not necessary.”
The council also passed a resolution to eliminate the proposed 2.3 percent administrative tax increase on non-state funded entities.
A.S. President J.P. Primeau said the administration has decided to take a different approach to the tax. According to Primeau, campus-based lock-in fees are going to be assessed this year but won’t be required to pay the tax until referenda are approved. Primeau said students have no choice in matter. Their only two options are to either vote to renew the referenda or vote down the referenda completely.
“Student mental health a few years ago was at a level where funding was critically low and it couldn’t pay for the services it needed to,” Primeau said. “Students went out, knowing this, and said they were going to pay for the services out of their own pockets. This is money that the university should have absolutely paid.”
Primeau said that even though services have been paid with student money, the administration still claims that students are not paying their fair share.
“Fast forward to this year, the campus is looking at the amount of money that students pay for mental health services,” Primeau said. “Now they’re saying, ‘You know what, students aren’t paying their share in the money that they pay for mental health.’ They’re asking where in that money is there a provision for central payroll services. The university should be paying for the entire thing so for us to fund it and have them say that not enough is paying for landscape or payroll is ridiculous.”