ASUCI Makes Effort to CARE

The Associated Students of UC Irvine will add the Campus Activities to Revitalize Education Referendum on the 2006 spring ballot. In the act of including this new referendum, ASUCI seeks to increase the amount of funding that is needed to carry on the Student Initiated Academic Programming, which has been recently reduced by the state of California and the governor’s decision to impede funding for such education-based outreach programs.
The SIAP is an outreach program to assist K-12 students further in their education and aspire toward higher education. In order to restore these financial backings, ASUCI has taken the action of putting forward the new C.A.R.E Referendum in order to raise money to compensate for the decreased budget.
‘ASUCI has a commitment to ensure that SIAP programs have a constant source of funding,’ said Joel Crespo, ASUCI vice president of academic affairs.
If the referendum should pass during the next election, students can anticipate the institution of an outreach and retention center which will be utilized to enhance retention efforts here at UCI, such as additional study sections for students, free printing in the libraries, added computer access, personal development workshops and peer academic advising for the UCI student body. The center will also function as a site where undergraduate student associations and organizations may come to apply for funding.
In the past, the ASUCI constitution required that such a referendum must be passed with a ‘yes’ vote of at least 60 percent, with at least 25 percent of undergraduate students participating in the voting process—whether or not they vote in favor of or against it. If the requirement pool for undergraduate participation is to be at least 25 percent in this year’s election, it is unlikely that the C.A.R.E Referendum will pass due to the apathy of students and lack of voters. However, on Feb. 7, the legislative council of ASUCI convened in order to discuss this voting requirement. Consequently, they amended the adoption of a new minimum 20 percent voting pool requisite for any referenda. In lowering the percentage required for the passing of the fee-based measure, ASUCI ensures the C.A.R.E Referendum a higher chance of being approved.
If this measure should pass, the C.A.R.E Referendum will increase the fees of every member of the student body by $6 per quarter. This is expected to raise a total revenue of roughly $360,000 in which about $240,000 will be managed by the SIAP committee and used in order to develop the new SIAP retention and outreach center. The remainder of the overall profits, an approximate $120,000, will be set aside for financial aid here at UCI.
Bearing in mind the expected future rise in student fees as a result of the new Student Center, extra costs may not be welcomed by the student body.
‘I feel there is a difference between students raising their fees to pay for student-related expenses and the Regents raising fees because the governor decides to cut education,’ Crespo said.
James Yamazaki, a second-year studio art major, gave his approval and support for the referendum.
‘Six bucks isn’t a problem, and I understand that the government is cutting down on our budgets,’ Yamazaki said.
‘[The student fee] does not seem like a whole lot and seems negligible…any time we can be independent of the government and raise money on our own, then I would be in favor,’ said Alfonso Vides, a third-year psychology major, who also believes that the referendum is a beneficial proposal.
On the other hand, many students are not in favor of the measures and do not think that the C.A.R.E Referendum is a good idea. Like a number of students, Jacklyn Feinstein, a third-year sociology major, felt that the last thing we need is another expense.
‘It just seems like every year more and more fees are being thrown into our tuition. It may not be a lot on its own, but all these expenses add up very quickly,’ Feinstein said.
The elections will take place during Week 3 of the spring quarter, in which votes will be cast for the C.A.R.E Referendum along with other proposals, such as the Campus Events Referendum and Measure S: Shuttle Initiative.