Letter to the Editor
Students’ Free Speech Silenced with a Price
In response to ‘Student Governments Call for Change,’ I would like to voice vehement opposition to the University of California’s proposed student fee draft.
Although its merits include acknowledging the educational benefits of club activities, the draft infringes on free speech within the University of California system by restricting student government activities and prohibiting the student body from using referenda to fund student organizations.
As a member of several clubs at UCI, most notably the politically active Campus Greens, I am well aware that extracurricular student activities need funding.
All organizations need some sort of fiscal support in order to survive.
I also recognize that when an event, whether inflammatory or docile, receives funding, the perspectives and opinions expressed are not necessarily those of ASUCI, the UC Regents or the State of California.
I understand that funding is not an endorsement of ideology, but rather an allowance of expression that is vital to any educational experience.
The fees you and I pay for extracurricular activities should not be allocated to specific viewpoints, nor should they be limited to subjects agreeable to the university.
The draft proposes denying funds for ballot measures and lobbying, effectively narrowing free speech to subject matter attractive to the university.
Such a restriction would be unconstitutional and completely unacceptable at UCI or any of the UCs.
Moreover, prohibiting the student body from voting on referenda in order to allocate funds would thwart self-governance and make adequate funding an arduous task by removing the specificity of referenda and the precise fiscal needs of student groups.
These proposed changes to the student fee policy would not only diminish the range of free expression, but would also threaten the fiscal livelihood of surviving activities and organizations.
Our culturally, politically, recreationally and ideologically diverse extracurricular activities cannot afford these changes.
I, for one, came to UCI in order to be exposed to unlimited subjects and perspectives.
I urge you to join me in protecting the voices of all student organizations, by e-mailing email@example.com in support of free speech within the University of California system.
Please visit www.ucfreespeech.com for more information about the draft, as well as the coalition of student leaders promoting and defending free speech for the UC’s extracurricular student activities.
Kathlyn Henderson is the chair of Campus Greens.
Gagnier a Lost Cause for Students?
I’d like to rebut Christina Gagnier’s response (‘A
Dying Breed: The Bitch,’
Feb. 16) to Ryan Mykita’s
I do not deny that Christina
is one of the most qualified people at UCI to be executive vice
president, and I agree with her
that she’s a bitch. However, I don’t think she’s a bitch for the
reasons she states: ‘I am stubborn, noncommittal, persevering and I will not back down. Thus, I am a bitch.’
While all of those traits are
very dead on, they don’t really
constitute a bitch. It’s more so
the fact that she is just mean. ‘Bitch’ is putting it mildly and
is no justification for being
rude, obnoxious, foul-mouthed, egotistical, self-indulgent,
condescending and arrogant individual.
The main issue at hand which
I feel has been overlooked is the difference between being for
the students and being for
yourself. Being for the
students requires actually
respecting them and having them respect you, something that
seems lacking with Christina.
What surprises me the most
about this ‘respect’ issue is
that when Ryan Mykita
called Christina on the fact that she doesn’t respect her constituents, there was no rebuttal from her side. I am not saying that, to quote Christina, she is ‘anti-student and all,’ but she just lacks major respect for people in general, and in obvious return, people lack respect for her.
On top of the lack of
respect, being for the
students requires advocating for what the students, meaning the majority of the students, want. It seems to me that a lot of the work that comes out of that office is ultimately for what Christina wants and what will make her look good. Yes, there is the ‘No More Fee Increase’ campaign. But honestly, does anybody think this is an effective campaign? Fees are going to increase regardless of what she says or does. She’s wasting a lot of her time and the students’ time. Just because this makes her look good, like she’s some kind of rebel fighting for our cause, it doesn’t help; it’s pointless.
Furthermore, passing out Proposition 56 fliers at a ‘No
More Fee Increase’ event is
even more inappropriate for
an EVP to do. Without focusing
on how the actual proposition is
not in the best interest of the
students, how about the fact that only passing out ‘Yes on 56’
fliers is not in the best interest of the students? Where are the ‘No on 56’ fliers? Shouldn’t we be given information from both sides so we can make wise decisions as students?
This brings me to another
point: I’m so very glad
that Christina’s legislation
endorsing Proposition 56 failed
to pass the Legislative Council.
I’m outraged that this legislation would actually be on the table. How would passing an endorsement for Proposition 56 help us students? To quote the paragraph under the EVP section of
the ASUCI Web site, ‘It is the goal of the Office of the EVP to
unite the diversity on this campus to create an environment
conducive to change for the betterment of the student body.’ Does a ‘We endorse Proposition 56’ legislation do anything to ‘unite the diversity’ or ‘create an environment conducive to change?’ No. It’s seriously time that the EVP stop trying to pass her own motives and agendas off as helping the students.
I quote Christina: ‘For the bitch that I am, if you ever come to ASUCI or go to our events, you know what has been accomplished.’ What exactly has she accomplished? Yes, we got letters to the regents, yes, we’ve said ‘No More Fee Increase,’ yes, we’ve yelled and argued a lot during meetings, but what has the EVP done that actually helps the students? Aside from the legislative council putting up worthwhile events like the Bio Sci Day where students get free food, information on their major or how to get more involved at UCI, and aside from some legislation that actually gives students extra help by tutoring, or whatever, there hasn’t been much out of the EVP office that has actually helped us as a student body. If she really wanted to help the students, instead of passing out pamphlets endorsing Proposition 56, it would be better to host an event where people debate Proposition 56 or where Proposition 56 is explained (both sides). That way, by being informed about both sides of the issue, the students are better able to understand the topic at hand.
In closing, Christina is qualified and has the potential to, as she says, ‘get shit done’ (a good choice of a noun for what actually comes out of her office), but instead of focusing on what helps her and makes her look all great, she needs to focus on what actually helps us students.