Fee revoked, board provoked
After four weeks of seemingly endless debate over the $1.50 student-organizing fee, the Associated Students' Board of Directors voted to rescind the fee.
However, the decision by the AS Board still has to be ratified by the Joint Council. If the Joint Council ratify the board's decision then CALPIRG will remain unfunded by the AS, but they still have a number of avenues open with which to seek financial funding from the board.
Speaking after the vote, Vince Slevin, the new voters project coordinator for CALPIRG and the AS director of Budget Management, expressed disappointment at the board's verdict.
"I think it's dangerous for the AS to start second guessing the voice of the student body, that's a dangerous precedent. If we question their votes in this election what's to stop us from questioning the votes that put us in office," said Slevin.
At the start of proceedings hopes were high a satisfactory decision could be reached. However, as the meeting drew on obstacles arose as dissimilar viewpoints were levied.
Leo Leung, Inter Club Council chair, said, "People think that if we don't have this fee, then students will lose their voice, and there will be global warming, and all the penguins will die…but this is not true. We have other groups working on these issues."
In response, Slevin stated they must represent the voice of the students as best they can. "It's very important we represent those student voices on campus, and that is what the student organizing fee allows us to accomplish."
The board members were not the only ones with a vested interest in the outcome, and various groups proved opinions on the issue.
"Think about it like this: Don't think that they are taking $1.50 from you, but for one day you won't be drinking a cup of coffee," said Santa Monica College student, Bryce Jensen, who added that "there are lot of good things you can take from a small amount."
The board voted with seven raised hands to rescind the fee. They have also decided, however, that the decision must go to joint council. "This decision needs to go to joint council based on our constitution," said Slevin. "I look forward to giving joint council an opportunity to hear about it."