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Nap Time!!!

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Let's look a bit closer at the Green Fee.

As folks know, environmentalism has been trying its best to model itself after institutional religion, right down to the sale of indulgences ("carbon offsets"). It only makes sense that the next step is raising our fees for no reason.

(I hear Dwight Asuncion is a Republican. I don't know any interpretation of Republicanism, cynical or not, that would support something like this. BCR needs to excommunicate him for showing allegiance to a different religion.)

Anyway, let's just read right down the bill:

The authors are Dwight Asuncion, Jane Park, and a "Joel Guenther," who I don't know. He has a pony tail, though, which explains a lot.

The sponsors are Dwight, Jane, and Taylor Allbright and Caro Jauregui.
WHEREAS, environmental sustainability is of vital importance to current and future students, the University of California at Berkeley, and the greater community in which it is placed; and

WHEREAS, the ASUC has exhibited its long-term commitment to sustainability by specifically calling for a Director of Environmental Sustainability in Title 24 of the Bylaws; and
I believe the position currently gets between $300-$400, according to Title 24.
WHEREAS, the current financial model for sustainability projects on campus makes the goal of environmental sustainability untenable for UC Berkeley unless an alternative source of funding is found for these projects; and
Well, this is half right. Yes, under the current model, the goal is "untenable," but the new model isn't going to change that. And by "untenable," I mean the actual definition of the word.

Even if we assume the word here is supposed to be "unattainable," though, throwing money away doesn't seem to be the kind of thing that would achieve environmental sustainability. There's no plan here. No assessment of how successful the (nonexistent) plan will be. No guarantee. Not even a hint of how throwing money away might even slightly solve any problem.
WHEREAS, similar mandatory student fees have been passed at other UC campuses such as UC Santa Barbara and UC Santa Cruz to address the lack of financial resources for sustainability projects; and
If other UC campuses jumped off a cliff, would you do that, too? Note that these fees "address the lack of resources," but don't actually "accomplish" anything. So, essentially, these campuses went from poorly-funded failing projects to well-funded failing projects.
WHEREAS, the level of sustainability of UC Berkeley is not on par with the student body's support for sustainable development and concern regarding issues such as global warming; and
How self-contradictory can a statement get? The student body's support is exactly the level of sustainability. (Here, I'm using the definition of "support" which requires actual action) What this clause really means is that the student body doesn't support it as much as the authors would like, so we need to coerce folks into providing more funds. If students really cared, they would volunteer this money.
WHEREAS, TGIF will create a direct avenue for student involvement in and improvement of the material operations of the physical campus; and
Well, not quite direct. It'll create an avenue for a few students (the ones pushing this fee increase), but everyone else is just screwed. And out $5.
WHEREAS, a mandatory student fee to create and sustain TGIF is a proposed solution to the unavailability of financial resources for sustainability projects at UC Berkeley and the want for greater student involvement in setting the tone for the campus' environmental stewardship.
Um... might you propose a different solution, maybe one that doesn't raise our fees? Say, leave it to those who have that "want for greater student involvement" to get involved, and let the rest of us keep our money. How much ramen can you buy for $5 a semester?
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the following language below is the contract that the ASUC Senate will forward to the UC Office of the President to consider as the TGIF Referendum, given that it is approved.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the below phrase be placed on this year's ASUC ballot for consideration of the TGIF Referendum by the student body:

A mandatory student fee of $5 per semester has been proposed to raise funds for projects that address UC Berkeley's environmental sustainability and our impact on global climate change and that support student-led sustainability efforts. Do you approve of this fee?
Wow, that's quite a "contract." No ambiguities or anything.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the funds will be managed by the TGIF Grant Making Committee under the ASUC Auxiliary; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the TGIF Grant Making Committee will be governed by the By-Laws of the Green Initiative Fund in the custody of the authors and sponsors of this bill.
............ More on this later.

For now, let's see if any of our Senators will have the balls to stand up for students.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 2/28/2007 08:58:00 PM #
Comments (3)
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The University of Illinois Student Senate just passed an almost identical referendum bill for a $5 mandatory fee (after just last year a Clean Energy fee was passed by referendum).

I voted against the bill and obviously lost to the idealistic undergrad majority, but before that I was able to get them to make it a refundable fee so that grad students can avoid getting raped by more mandatory fees that currently total about $1000 a year (and are not waivable by assistantships).
More at The Green Initiative Fun official site:

Check out this page in particular:

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