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Nap Time!!!

Sunday, March 23, 2008
On the fee

I've made a seperate post for how idiotic Josh Daniels and the Graduate Assembly were on the SUPERB fee.

Josh Daniels brought a parade of grad students to come bitch about the SUPERB fee because merely assigning part of the fee to be towards graduate entertainment wasn't sufficient. As we all know, graduate students don't go to movies, attend concerts, or enjoy comedy shows. Therefore, anything tuned towards entertainment of the type SUPERB does doesn't help graduate students at all. In fact, giving money to the Graduate Assembly to spend on entertainment was also insufficient. The only thing Josh Daniels would approve of was handing the GA a large sack of money to do whatever it wants with. At the time, such a plan wasn't approved, but who knows what happened last week?

It's sort of true that graduate students benefit less, but that's just because we don't do as much stuff. Every cent we give to the ASUC we get less out of than undergraduates, and that doesn't change when it's the GA spending the money. Giving the money to the GA just means fancier food and booze at GA events for delegates.

He also complained about the freeing up of funds for student groups. The money freed up would only go towards undergraduate groups (not really true, but whatever). SUPERB is currently entirely funded by undergraduate fees, since the GA gets every dime the ASUC collects from graduate students. Of course that money would only go towards things the ASUC Senate controls. I'm sorry Daniels has such a hard time finding anything entertaining about SUPERB. He joins me and an enormous fraction of campus in that, and that was true even when I was an undergrad. But unless he's prepared to refund the money he takes from the vast majority of graduate students who gain nothing whatsoever from the GA, there's no reason we should give a fuck about what he says about access to benefits from a fee.
Mr. Wu asked if he believed there were a significant number of undergraduate students who were not served by SUPERB and wouldn't benefit from it getting ASUC funding. Mr. Daniels said the referendum was structured to be equally accessible to all undergrads, via ASUC funding and SUPERB. But it wasn't structured to have equal access to grads due to the types of events SUPERB put on and the way undergrad groups apply to the ASUC and grad groups apply to the GA. Structurally speaking, the Referendum wouldn't provide grads with the same opportunities as undergrads.
Holy shit. Holy fucking shit. The reason graduate students aren't being served is because they aren't interested in these kinds of things. But the undergraduates who aren't being served because they aren't interested in these kind of things are being served because they have equal access to the referendum. Graduate students have exactly the same kind of access, but somehow this logic doesn't apply to them.

Really, this is yet another example of why the Graduate Assembly needs to quit bitching and seek true autonomy. They gave it up a few years back with their idiotic Memorandum of Understanding referendum, and I don't know why. Actually, I do know why: They want to keep getting the money without taking on the responsibilities of actually representing graduate students, but these are the consequences of that decision, and they need to suck them up.

I'm opposed to the fee, of course, because it's absolute horseshit in almost every way (Here's some of what I said last year, which still holds), but pissing off the money-grubbing, power-hungry GA will be a nice consolation prize if it passes. That's only if it survived this week, though. Does anyone know? So rarely do I get the chance to watch two groups I despise go at it like this.
Ms. Patel said that when the Senate considers this bill, they should consider the language, faith, and quality of the Referendum, rather than Senators' personal opinions on its content. As Senators, they should vote on language and content, not whether they were for or against it. A decision on student fees should be made on election day, not in the Senate Chamber. It was unfair to bring up huge amendments since the bill has been on the floor for so long and Mr. Chow and Mr. Mazur, the Directors have been coming out. The bill has been passed by two committees. So if amendments were going to be made, they should have been made earlier. Every time an amendment was made, the language had to go back to UCOP and go through the process again. Making an amendment was a lot of work for Mr. Mazur, Mr. Chow, and other people participating in the referendum.
There's no particular basis for her claim about the purpose of the Senate vote. I would argue that the point of the Senate vote is to make sure that only those bills which have support among elected officials go to the election. In any case, her whining about "too late to make amendements" would make a lot more sense if she didn't propose it at the last possible second.
Mr. Weiner asked if the impetus for the Referendum was that SUPERB didn't have the best financial situation or entertainment for both grads and undergrads, requiring more funding. Mr. Mazur said he would never say SUPERB was more important than any other group, but it was in a unique position. There were a lot of variable costs and costs that were increasing, such as with Wheeler. SUPERB was trying to get a stable source of income to better expand its services, to include grads more and have bigger and better events. Mr. Chow said if they had increased funds, they'd have a better level of entertainment on the campus.
So... nothing at all about that response describes what's unique about SUPERB. All groups have those issues.

Once Gabe Weiner started asking about why other groups weren't included, Lisa Patel's tune changed really quickly from "we should get a referendum that is high quality and in good faith" to "just approve what's in front of you!"
A general entertainment fee was a little different and wasn't what the Senate was currently dealing with. It was up to the student body whether to support a referendum like this, and the Senate shouldn't make the decision for them. The Senate's decision that evening was whether this should be on the ballot. They didn't have a general entertainment fee before them that evening. Any amendment to the bill would essentially kill it because the language would have to go back to UCOP.
Gee, if only there was a way to avoid this outcome. You know, maybe introduce it with a bit of time before the deadline? Despite Corey Jackson saying that he wasn't comfortable with this approach, the Senate just went along like the sheep they are, rather than standing up for students and demanding better "quality" and "faith" from those proposing referenda.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 3/23/2008 05:00:00 PM #
Comments (10)
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It survived... no GA funding in the referendum.
From my understanding of this whole SAVE SUPERB thing, is that if the referendum doesn't get passed, SUPERB will cease to exist, and there aren't other groups that provide that type of entertainment that are in the same danger.
That sure sounds familiar... didn't I hear that last year? When they absolutely had to pass the fee... OR ELSE!!!

It turned out the OR ELSE!!! was that SUPERB would continue to exist. Oh, woe! SUPERB will make do with what they have, as always. They could only play that bluff once, and they've already spent that card.
it's obvious they won't cease to exist. They would just have to provide whatever they can with the money they're given.

if they really convince people they will cease to exist it, it shows how little people know about the asuc.
i think it's logical to say that all groups have a certain threshold or a minimum dollar amount in which they need to operate. getting big name acts can't be all that cheap, so i'm guessing they're going to hit a certain point with budget cuts where they simply won't be able to book artists and if they don't have that money to do that then why should they be around
I guess that is logical, but SUPERB hasn't given us any information about where that point would be. And why would we believe them after last year?

Clearly they have enough money to exist now. They're asking for a huge budget boost, not a guarantee of existence.
The problem is that SUPERB's funding is also dependent on outside sponsorships and connections to getting deals on artists which is never guaranteed. The reason why they're staying afloat is due to roll over funds and seeking every way to make each dollar stretch. However, those funds no longer exist, hence why the referendum is out on the ballot again. Plus, senate keeps cutting SUPERB's budget while entertainment costs are going up.

As someone else stated before:
"i think it's logical to say that all groups have a certain threshold or a minimum dollar amount in which they need to operate. getting big name acts can't be all that cheap, so i'm guessing they're going to hit a certain point with budget cuts where they simply won't be able to book artists and if they don't have that money to do that then why should they be around"
Again, why should we believe you this time? We heard the same doomsday whining last year. The Senate hears it every year. "Oh, but this time... let me tell you..."

How do the hundreds of entertainment organizations which can't turn to a giant pot of money from mostly-uninterested students survive in this risky world of no guarantees and stretchy dollars?

You can get support from the people who like you. That's what most organizations do. The fact that you turn to subsidies means you know that your fans aren't such fans that they're willing to pay for what you provide. So you put a referendum on the ballot so those fans can instead force everyone else, the people you don't serve, the people who have no interest in your particular philosophy of entertainment, to support you. But you try to hide it. You phrase it as if you're doing the reasonable thing: "give us money if you like SUPERB." That's not what you're doing, but you're terrified that people might not be so cool with it if you phrase it as "Vote for forcing others, who we fail to entertain, to give us money if you like SUPERB. They're only your fellow students. Fuck them. All that matters is that you get your entertainment."

So don't come balling to us about how your model, the choices you made about how to approach your organization, doesn't support itself without forcing the cost onto the backs of those who don't benefit from it.
Don't you need collateral or money to book big bands and names though? And when big bands and names don't get booked, people whine and complain that SUPERB isn't representing them, and then stop coming to events, affecting their budget. So SUPERB could increase the price for events, but then would you still pay? Seems like a downward spiral to me. And for those entertainment groups that can't turn to a potential audience for money? They go out of business like New Line Cinemas. I remember hearing about the Greek shows, which apparently stopped a while ago although they tried to bring it back last year. Too bad they couldn't get a bigger name to play. Probably didn't have the money for it. It was like they were trying to pull off a Sun God. But I'm sure UCSD gets a lot of money to put that one event on.
SUPERB is asking people to pay through the fee increase. It's a matter of whether the people paying should be the ones who are entertained or the ones who SUPERB fails. They're afraid that if people have the option to decide whether or not to pay, they won't. That just means SUPERB isn't really all that valuable to the folks it serves.
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