AS infighting delays decision on student fee, again

It's week three in the ongoing debate over the $1.50 student organizing fee, and once again the Santa Monica College Associated Students Board of Directors has postponed the vote. With only one item on the agenda – the vote on rescinding the student organizing fee - the board decided for the third week in a row to push the vote back another week, to Oct. 11.

This latest meeting quickly sparked a heated debate with the mention of a possible conflict of interest within the board. This prompted AS President Tiffany Inabu to question whether, "Vince [Slevin], being the Coordinator of the New Voters Project, falls under ‘Conflict of Interest?'"

Reacting to the issue, Chantelle Eastman, ASvice-president, felt that she had been "betrayed by a member on this board."

In response to Eastman's comment, Slevin stated, "First of all, I feel that I am being personally attacked. I have not hidden the fact that I am a part of the New Voters Project, and everyone knows that I have been involved with CALPIRG."

"Any organization or club that any of us here are involved with can apply for funding from the student-organizing fee. Are we all conflicts of interest? This is ludicrous."

Following the meeting, Slevin stated that, "CALPIRG provides a voice for students, which benefits everyone. Without this fee, there wouldn't be a CALPIRG chapter and students essentially would lose their voice."

Strong feelings for and against the $1.50 student organizing fee are being witnessed all throughout the AS board. Michael Song, student trustee, said that, "the student organizing fee would benefit students. They do a lot of the things that AS should do."

"The only option should be an ‘option in system' that is specifically for CALPIRG, because it is what the people voted for," said Max Morgan, who attended the meeting. As it stands the AS fee is option out.

Slevin acknowledged that if the vote were to be postponed and no action is made in the future, the fee will stay active and will be implemented in the winter. "If we don't vote, it will go into effect."