Friday, March 23, 2007
Now, first up is the SUPERB referendum. This bill gives money to SUPERB but does not deny them the right to seek even more money through budgeting. The explanation is... uh... funny. In fact, there are many funny explanations. See if you can keep up.
The fee starts at $12 will increase by 5.23% every year for ten years, to $18.99 in year 10.
Here's the ballot question:
A $12.00 mandatory student fee is proposed, beginning in Fall 2007, to support a number of student groups and activities on campus and to allow the fee to be incorporated in student financial aid need assessments. The fee will go to support ASUC SUPERB, Student Musical Activities (the Cal Band, UC Choral Ensembles, & UC Jazz Ensembles), graduate student groups, and will release funds for the ASUC Student Government to distribute to undergraduate student groups, and will increase 5.23% every year for 10 years. Do you approve of this fee?The first thing you'll notice is that the ASUC has once again demonstrated its inability to count to two, which is the number of sentences in a ballot question.
The second thing you'll notice is that the fact that it's incorporated in financial aid assessments is included on the ballot question, despite the fact that it's an argument, and not really part of the description. This is the kind of thing that happens when you let proponents write their own ballot questions.
The third thing you'll notice is that the released funds are not limited to supporting undergraduate student groups, nor, for that matter, is there even a distinction between undergraduate student groups and graduate student groups in the ASUC Senate's budgeting process.
And the fourth thing to notice is that money isn't necessarily freed, because the ASUC can still budget even more money for these groups. More on that in a bit.
In the language of the Referendum, it states that ASUC SUPERB would increase the number and quality of films, concerts, comedy shows, and other events and services that it provides to students. Mr. Gupta said he wanted to specify that they could not make this language any more specific, such as requiring that SUPERB do certain events, or host a spring concert, or other things. To do so would mean that the language was binding in the referendum and could not be changed if there were circumstances in future years that would prohibit SUPERB from hosting a very specific event.Um... yeah... that's sort of the point of binding language. See, it's binding because we want them to do certain things and if circumstances change so that they can't, we don't want to keep giving them the money.
Mr. Gupta said there was a concern raised that SUPERB could come back to the Senate and ask for more funding. One thing was important to know was that the intention of this Referendum was that SUPERB would no longer need to rely on the Senate for additional funding. That's not something that could be worked into the Referendum simply because that would take power away from the Senate to allocate wherever it pleased, based on requests that were made. So Mr. Gupta said that he proposed that a Whereas Clauses include the intention of this Referendum. But there was nothing the Senate could do that would bind future Senates from allocating funds to SUPERB or to any other group that request funding. He thought that was fairly understood. He would hate to take power away from the Senate.Bullshit. Of the pure and utter variety. A prohibition on them seeking more money could very well be worked into the binding language of the referendum. Yes, it hurts Vishal's feelings when the Senate loses power, but its existence isn't for the sake of holding power.
One fun thing to note was that the ASUC Attorney General, Ms. Upshaw, was the bass player in the vocal ensemble.Some might call this a conflict of interest, rather than "fun," since she does approve the language of the referendum that gives her organization money.
Now, let's see what the SUPERB rep, Freyan Billimoria, says:
The reason they want to increase SUPERB funds was really to take the obligation off the Senate so that every year SUPERB didn't have to come there in the spring and fight with them. Frankly, that's not why SUPERB was there.I imagine few groups exist for the sole reason of fighting for funding, so I don't see how this helps argue why SUPERB deserves special treatment.
The whole reason SUPERB was there [pushing this referendum] was because they don't enjoy coming to the Senate and asking for money. It was undignified and no one was happy with doing that.Let's leave the indignities and the unhappiness to the other groups? Is that seriously her argument? Yes, it seriously is. Begin crying.
None of them will be there in eight years, but there's no way they want to bind Senators' successors to something like that [not being able to seek even more funding]. It simply wasn't fair.It is fair, however, to bind future students into funding SUPERB, even if it sucks. Do these people have any awareness of the other people in the universe?
Mr. Averbach said SUPERB had a unique charge, different from nearly every student group on campus as to what they do.Um... yeah. That's because student groups are different. Any other student group will have its own unique charge.
Back in session, Mr. Nguyen moved to amend the title of SB 73 to "The Student Entertainment and Graduate Student Fee." Mr. Wasserman suggested "The Student Entertainment and Graduate Assembly Fee Referendum." Mr. Nguyen said that would be his motion. It was seconded by Mr. Wasserman.The fee goes to SUPERB, UC Choral Ensembles, UC Jazz Ensembles, and Cal Band (all student entertainment groups). Oh, and unnamed "graduate student groups." But Vivienne Nguyen does what she always does when she tries to think. Which makes more sense for a fee referendum that will fund student entertainment and the Graduate Assembly: "The Student Entertainment and Graduate Assembly Fee Referendum," or "A Democratic Referendum for a Student Life Fee"? Apparently, the second one makes more sense. *sigh*
Ms. Nguyen objected, and said the title sounded awkward and didn't really make sense.
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