I am not sure how many students are aware of this issue at our school, but in my humble opinion, given the history, there needs to be attention called to this. In Spring Quarter 2012, The Bottom Line — TBL — tried to pass a new student fee which would give them the majority of their funding. It unfortunately failed, meaning the student body voted and decided not to fund TBL. After much frenzy in a Legislative Council meeting, the current leadership of TBL highlighted the fact that, “the show must go on,” meaning they would give up honoraria (which is a small compensation for those with positions in A.S.) for the entire committee, in order to keep the production of the paper. After a long deliberation, the 2011-2012 Legislative Council awarded TBL money for operation and production.
Last week, TBL came to Finance Board requesting a sum around $22,000. For what you might ask? Travel expenses? Printing? Or maybe even updated equipment? No, this organization asked for $22,000 of student fees to compensate them financially after they had expressed that it was more crucial for the printing of the paper to continue rather than getting paid for their work. Finance Board decided to fund them around $12,000.
Let me explain some of the more problematic issues with this request. One, the students had already voted to not fund TBL, and now they are using student fees to fund themselves in a VERY less public way. What about the transparency that A.S. claims to strive for? Two, $22,000 is the second largest honoraria budget, second to that of the Senate, who has more officers than TBL and is an elected position. Three, in previous Finance Board decisions this year, the precedent was not to fund for honoraria from the A.S. account. Finally, my fourth and probably most important point, wouldn’t the student population, that gave these fees to Finance Board, rather see their money spent on something that can benefit all students rather than just a particular group?
Finally, while the A.S. budget was being made for the current school year, the previous president had allocated $5,700 to TBL honoraria and advised them to move production online. Continuing with the deceit, while TBL was making their lack of transparency, they did not share this information with Finance Board, which is why they ended up getting the $12,000 instead of $5,700, which I feel is a more appropriate and logical allocation. Now that I have brought this forward to the public eye, I would like to see students react, in whichever way they see fit. Either in favor of this allocation of student fees, against this allocation or somewhere in between. We have voted on this once, now, let our voices be heard again.
Alexandria Choate is a third-year political science major and Associated Students Off-Campus Senator.