It is time we abolish Associated Students, our student government. Every semester we pay $84 dollars into its coffers, but it’s unclear if we receive anything of benefit from it.
Ideally A.S. is meant to represent students when dealing with professors, faculty, administrators, and the public at large. However this is an impossible task when you consider that the student population is not politically homogenous. The existence of the Green, Democrat, Conservative and Libertarian clubs should be evidence that we have a diverse political spectrum on campus that cannot possibly be championed by a single organization.
Take for example the fact that A.S. is currently supporting Proposition 30, but not all students are in favor of it. Why should those of us who disagree politically with A.S. be forced to supply its funding? Those who wish to support Proposition 30 can do so out of their own funds and can join one of the several political clubs on campus.
It can be said that A.S. funds campus clubs, but let’s recall that it does not create any wealth. Any funds A.S. has come from students. A club that is asking for funding from A.S. then is not asking for a hand out, but only to get back as much of their member’s fees. There is no reason why A.S. should be involved in funding clubs. Remove A.S. fees and club members will have more money to donate to their own clubs. Under the current system those who belong to no club are forced to pay for something they are not involved with. The club system itself relies on the Matador Involvement Center (MIC), not A.S., so we needn’t fear of creating chaos for clubs by abolishing A.S.
A.S. funds several scholarships and even offers assistance for student academic projects through the Academically Related Reserves Account (ARRA), but it’s unclear that this is something A.S. should be doing. If A.S. wishes to be a charity then it should be run as a charity and be funded by voluntary contributions and not force.
Things like the Big Show are put on by A.S. Productions, but again it is unclear that A.S. should be doing these things. It certainly is not efficient in running these things. The recent Big Show concert sold out at 13,250 tickets. At $10 apiece $132,500 dollars were collected in revenue. An impressive sum until you consider $200,000 was allotted to the Big Show from the budget, which means $67,500 was lost. Worse, 13,000 was the total amount of tickets originally available. $67,250 was the least amount that could have been lost – there was no possibility of Big Show paying for itself and most certainly no chance of it actually making a profit. A.S. doesn’t even know how to throw a party!
More recently A.S. has been toying with the idea of an orientation camp for incoming students for the purpose of ensuring they have friendships before the semester starts. This is simply absurd! We Matadors are social enough that we can make friends without needing to go camping. Join a club, try to get involved with the Daily Sundial or, if you’re desperate, go to your professor’s office hours if you wish to make friends on campus.
What is the purpose of A.S.? Is it to represent us at large? That is impossible, for we have different views on issues as a student population. Is it to fund clubs, concerts, or scholarships? It doesn’t create any wealth, it only redistributes. All of these things can be paid for without involving A.S. Indeed, A.S. spends considerable sums in its administrations. The A.S. president and vice president alone are allotted just under $41,082 for compensation!
We could abolish A.S. immediately without any damage to us, but I am a man willing to compromise. I propose for the time being that we only cut off its fat by lowering the A.S. fee to $10. This can be done by referendum in accordance to California Education Code Section 89300. If we find that we do actually need A.S. for some reason, then we can simply increase the fee again. If we see, that A.S. does nothing of great importance, then we can pass a second referendum to make the fee $0 and effectively abolish it.