Students Should not Vote for ASUCI’s Stimulus Package
Voting for a referendum to increase fees is not only a mistake, but proposing it in these tough times is completely inconsiderate considering the rampant tuition increases and decreased benefits coming from the UC system as a whole. What guarantee is there that students will even be free to enjoy these events? If the cost of attending school continues to increase, it is more likely that students will spend more time working or looking for jobs, or they might even choose to drop out if the burden becomes too high, as many have done and others have been tempted to do.
In 2006, ASUCI attempted to pass the Irvine Campus Events referendum, and found it hard to sell, even in the better economic climate of the time. It is true that many organizations will find it hard to fund their events, but the referendum does nothing to solve the root of the problem. Funding for many campus facilities comes straight from the UC Regents and state legislature, who, rather than fund multicultural, Lesbian, Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) resources, Greek or other campus activities to enrich students, choose to fatten their wallets, increase tuition and then claim there is no money left after they have taken taxpayer’s money for their own benefit.
Here are some examples of UC Regents and state legislators’ hypocrisy: state legislators, UC Regents and UC Irvine administrators have decided to cut funding to student services such as the Cross-Cultural Center, LGBT Resource Center, Career Center and all of the other vital student services that give us the tools to enhance our own education. There was no outcry from ASUCI about the importance of funding centers and student services that are needed in order to intellectually stimulate campuses.
Instead, the author of the description for the UCI Stimulus Package’s Facebook page said, “Yes, tuition will increase this year, but it went up last year and the year before that, and it will probably go up next year and the year after that. If we wait for a good budget year, it may take decades.”
This self-defeating language shows a disloyalty to the student populace as a whole and is not the type of attitude a UCI leader should have about dealing with our student issues. Rather than appeal to the top executives who are the true reason why student-led projects and events are underfunded, ASUCI chooses to appeal to the students, thus adding more burdens to their current situation.
Although we live in Orange County, which is feeling the effects of the economic recession at a slower pace because of its affluent population, we students at UCI are feeling the effects of unemployment, home foreclosures and other consequences of the economic climate of the time. ASUCI is betraying the student population by crafting a plan that takes the easy way out of slashed student service budgets: charge us instead of fighting for what we want and need with top executives.
Frankly, it would be far more beneficial to force UC Regents, state legislators and administrators to fund these campus events with their own pockets, if that is what ASUCI wants. The proposal of this referendum is a slap in the face to students who are losing their jobs, their homes and possibly even their mental and physical health because of this crisis. Seventy-five dollars per year is simply too much when someone is living from paycheck to paycheck, and it is time for ASUCI to pressure the top leaders responsible for the lack of this funding with real actions instead of passive words, as well as finding lasting solutions to a problem, even if it means it will be much harder than proposing an unnecessary referendum.
Students should take a more proactive approach to funding their student-led projects, initiatives and education-enhancing ideas. Start a protest, stage a call-in to your local representative, talk to the media, but do not betray students who are suffering from the dire consequences of today simply to try to “entertain” everyone.
Fourth-year Studio Art major