Associated Students of UC Irvine is a joke, plain and simple. It’s controlled by egotistical Greeks and crammed with resume-building douchebags. For the most part, ASUCI is perceived as completely illegitimate by UCI’s already-apathetic student body. In most governing bodies in the free world, elected representatives espouse resolutions that they feel are in the best interests of the people they represent. ASUCI, however, functions more along the lines of a secretive, authoritarian, inbred family with the distinct aura of a cheesy telenovela (minus the hot girls).
This quarter’s POWER initiative perfectly illustrates the character of the organization. For one thing, UCI students had no official sources for learning about this initiative or the candidates running in the spring until a few days before the election, at which point the ASUCI Web site (ASUCI’s only somewhat-informative outlet) finally added hyperlinks to election information. According to the site, the POWER initiative aims to “establish an on-campus resource center aimed at lowering dropout rates, improving four-year graduation rates and improving the academic preparedness and success of students” in order to navigate the “decentralized” UCI campus.
A resource center? Are you kidding? It’s called studying! Anyone who thinks that UCI needs more student resources hasn’t read the 5,000 weekly e-mails from Student Affairs and hasn’t heard about the Career Center, Learning and Academic Resource Center, Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender Resource Center, Volunteer Center, Center for International Education, Dean of Students, Anteater Mentorship Program, Student Health Education Center, Disability Services, Counseling Center, Libraries, Campus Assault Resources & Education, Peer Academic Advising or Cross-Cultural Center … or is just genuinely stupid.
Apparently, Jesse Cheng and the other ASUCI buffs who spent their winter quarter supporting California’s “Tuition Relief Now” effort don’t feel that it’s at all hypocritical to take student-fee increases into their own hands at UCI, even when all public universities are supposed to provide tuition-free education for all residents of the state, according to California’s 1960 Master Plan for Higher Education. Why ASUCI, of all groups, wants students to pay more is a mystery.
As one UCI alumnus stated on the popular Web site AnteaterForum.com, “This is ‘student outreach’ all over again in disguise … just like the CARE, SOAR and other initiatives … which all failed.” The student was referring to other recent ASUCI initiatives with spiritual-sounding acronyms that, when broken down, seek to reach out to underachieving and/or minority students to justify an expensive, masochistic student-fee increase to bail out students who aren’t ambitious enough to help themselves. Which, but of course, is the goal of higher education at research universities, right?
The student’s comments are dead-on. CARE was obviously the prototype for this year’s POWER initiative. Back in 2006, CARE was proposed to seek “Student-Initiated Academic Preparation” and a “student retention center” to help youth from “disadvantaged backgrounds” attend UCI in an effort to increase diversity on campus. Sound familiar? The only difference is that POWER talks more about “retention” of UCI students instead of outreach to inner-city high-school students. CARE was going to cost $6 per quarter, suspiciously similar to POWER’s proposed $7-per-quarter fee increase.
This rubbish appears to be the handiwork of the Cross Cultural Center and its aggressive minions, which inundate ASUCI with their politically-correct, money-grubbing initiatives and one-sided representatives every year. Besides the Greek overlords (seven of the last 10 ASUCI presidents were from Phi Kappa Psi), and freshmen groupies who blindly support random legislation in a narcissistic quest for so-called “student spirit” and all of its entailed ambiguity, the Cross-Cultural Center is the only other omnipresent Medusa at ASUCI. If POWER passes, the only UCI programs that would receive funding from the initiative would be the student groups endorsed by the POWER resource center itself (hmm… MEChA?).
The POWER Facebook group states that “one in five students drop out of UCI every year.” Really, Cheng? Four thousand undergrads leave UCI every single year? POWER’s $21-per-year student-fee increase would rake in approximately $493,206 a year from undergrads for this so-called resource center, compared to resource centers at other large colleges that survive on $100,000-200,000 a year (and yet, the POWER fine print only stipulates the hiring of one full-time professional staff member to run the entire center