Disorganized organizing fee

During the weekly Associated Students board meeting Monday, former AS President Cameron Henton threw a wrench into the works of last week's vote to rescind the $1.50 student-organizing fee when he said that their decision was essentially an empty gesture.

Henton said that no final decision could be made about whether or not to rescind the fee until it had been to the Joint Council, and that even after weeks of heated exchange their decision was still "null and void." At the same time he brought into question the efficiency of the current AS board.

            "It was a decision made hastily, which happens with new board members who are not here for the whole discussion. It is the authority of the Joint Council to determine any and all changes of student fees," said Henton.

            "Following the constitution is the only way to ensure that there is a legitimate, organized and representative student government," Henton added.

            In response to Henton's statement, Max Morgan, 2008-09 SMC Chemistry Club President and former member of the Constitution Committee, said that, "it does not make it null in void. It just means that you have to go to joint council to get it approved. If anything you get greater representation."

            In response to old arguments resurfacing about the role of CALPIRG in the fee's decision, Henton replied that the fee was initially brought up to be a CALPIRG fee. "Yes, it did begin as a CALPIRG fee. We realized that it's not fair to other organizations… That's why the language changed," he said.

           "We got information that it would be a possibility for the college to not administer it if it was separate. That's when we made the decision to make it a part of the AS fee," Henton added.

            With the vote legitimacy now in question, an entirely new argument was raised about the language of the fee itself.

            "How did you expect us to respond to something with no background information? You didn't necessarily leave us with any type of outline. Then you expect us to just carry on this organizing fee," said Jennifer Alcaras, Director of Student Services.

            As an apology, Henton admitted that, "it was not a requirement."

            Vocal during previous board meetings, Vince Slevin, the New Voters Project Coordinator for CALPIRG and the AS director of budget management, remained relatively silent, speaking only towards the end of Henton's speech.

"I don't think we need legal advice to read the constitution. If our constitution says this goes to Joint Council, then it needs to go to Joint Council. The board has the right to vote on it, but the final authority lies with the Joint Council," Slevin said.

            In his conclusion, Henton asserted that he, "just want it to be done properly, and no matter what the decision is, at least we did it right."