Bill will be discussed at next meeting; author Kline resolves to look for alternative solutions
Tensions ran high during the UCSU Legislative Council meeting on March 1. The budget readings took a back seat to the second reading of the Fair and Equal Access bill proposed last week.
About eight hours into the meeting and after much discussion, the council decided to table the Fair and Equal Access bill until the next meeting. Kline promised that he and the other authors of the bill would take a second look and try to come up with alternative solutions.
The bill was co-written by senior marketing major Chris Kline, vice president of Legislative Council and president of the Inter-fraternity Council. The bill proposes that fraternities be allowed to use the UMC and other UCSU run cost centers with no extra rental fees, which is a privilege extended only to student groups affiliated with the university. If the bill is passed, this puts the cost centers in a tug of war between university laws and UCSU legislation.
One of the final clauses of the bill states that any cost center found to be non-compliant would lose all UCSU funding from student fees. For Wardenburg, this means the loss of 33 percent of funding. The Student Rec Center will lose 74 percent of funding.
“We just want to emphasize again that this bill jeopardizes the autonomy agreement between UCSU and the university administration. If this passes, it will leave the campus in a state radically different than what it is today.” said Carrie Levi, Rec Board chairwoman and senior history major.
For more information about the bill, click here.
The budgets for the Student Outreach Retention Center for Equity, the Rec Center, the UMC, Off-Campus Student Services and Wardenburg went through their first readings.
Legislative Council President Joe Martinez requested that each featured group and cost center give a presentation pertaining to their budget, detailing what the proposed budget money would be used for. The council then had the chance to ask questions about specific financial plan details. Heated discussion followed for all five of the cost centers interviewed.
During the two-hour open forum, representatives from all aspects of student life gave their opinions about the consequences of the bill.
The UMC representatives also presented a grim scenario for the bill passing. The UMC would be the hardest hit and would only be able to stay open for a few months. Over 400 employees, both students and classified, would be laid off; more than 12 cost centers, including UCSU, would lose their offices; and all of the private businesses inside the UMC such as the Book Store and the food court would have to be shut down.
“The great thing about our university is that there is an opportunity to learn about the different perspectives that shape our culture,” said Dustin Farivar, sophomore political science and sociology major. “By knowing more about our community, we can better interact and unite our campus.”
Many fraternity members voiced their support for the bill passing. Each speech had a common theme of equity for all students.
“The truth of the matter is that the Greek community deserves to be brought back into the fold…we will not be intimidated. We will not be pushed around. And most importantly, we will not stand for our rights as fee-paying students to be taken away by this administration,” said Eric Smith, fraternity member and sophomore classics major. “The success or failure of this bill will determine the autonomy of UCSU for the rest of its existence. Make the right choice to stop the university sanctions of discrimination against our organization. ”
But students employed around campus, and other concerned citizens, voiced their apprehension of the future if the bill was to pass.
“This bill died last year for several reasons,” said Feven Netsanet, senior political science major and former Legislative Council representative. “It endangers the autonomy of all students on campus. I have heard all the IFC members mention that they have 50 students, 128 students. That doesn’t include the 28,000 other students who would like to have use of the UCSU cost centers. It is not the right of the IFC to use UCSU as a way to put the money for cost as collateral and endanger other students’ groups.”
After a brief gas leak scare shortly after midnight, which forced the council to evacuate across the street from the UMC, the council quickly got back to the tasks at hand.
The Fair and Equal Access bill will be revisited at next week’s meeting and each of the budgets will go to a second reading when Legislative Council will vote on the proposals.
Stayed tuned to the Campus Press for further coverage of the bill and the budgeting process.
Contact Campus Press Staff Writer Julia Yugel at email@example.com