A.S. allocates $48,000 for next A.S. Elections

Adolfo Flores

Allocations for the campus elections, Associated Students’ stand on how the revenue from the Campus Quality Fee is allocated and funds for the recycling center were discussed at yesterday’s A.S. meeting.

The A.S. student government was also sworn into office minutes before the meeting by Terry Piper, the vice president of Student Affairs.

An increase, described as ‘a big jump’ by A.S. Finance Director Sam Scruggs for the 2008-2009 elections was approved.

A total of $48,000 was allocated, a rise from last years $3,100. The Finance Committee had recommended allocating $25,000.

The increase in funding will be used to better promote the elections, thus increasing voter turnout. Last year one out of every 18 students voted for the president, according to A.S.

‘I’m excited we got the money,’ Mazen Hafez, A.S. director of elections said. ‘It will give us the means and resources to increase voter turnout.’

Apart from the usual promotion of T-shirts, billboards and flyers, voter guides will also be mailed to students, not only promoting the elections but also producing more informed voters, Hafez said. This is expected to cost about $12,000.

For Hafez, one of the main reasons why CSUN administrators hired an outside consulting firm for the Campus Quality Fee because they don’t believe student voting represents the will of the campus, should serve as a catalyst to promote voter turnout further legitimizing student leadership.

‘The proof is in the pudding, only $3,100 was allotted for elections last year and only one out of 18 students voted,’ Senator John Neilan III said.

Senator Conor Lansdale referred a resolution to the University Affairs Committee in response to the Campus Quality Fee allocation process, in order to determine whether A.S. would take a stand in support or against it.

The spending of the money collected from this fee ultimately lies with President Jolene Koester. However, a Student Allocation Committee will make recommendations as to how the money is spent, Lansdale said.

‘Koester can allocate the money in any way she sees fit, there’s no checks and balances,’ he said. ‘I want more say in how this money is managed.’

The Campus Quality Fee increased tuition by $25 this semester and will increase tuition by $100 total throughout the next three years.

The revenue collected from this fee means students will no longer have to pay course-specific fees for labs or materials. It will also go towards music performance groups, engineering projects, several cinema projects and the Daily Sundial.

Senior psychology major Nevertary Shehata said she votes and feels like she should have more say as to how the money she paid is spent.

‘If we’re paying for it we should have more of a say in it,’ Shehata said.

More say is not enough for Helen Teklo, junior criminal justice major.

‘Students should be the ones that get the final say,’ she said. ‘If it benefits us, if it’s for us then we should have full say.’

The University Affairs Committee has until next week to present their stance on the issue to the Senate and ultimately bring it to a vote.

Visibility Chair Aron Schlabra stated that he would be working closely with William Watkins, associate vice president of student affairs, in building the Matador statue, which will cost an estimated $35,000 to $40,000.

A measure to allocate $11,660 to A.S. Recycling was approved by the Senate, the funding will provide more recycling bins and additional hours for student workers.

‘This is something that is much needed,’ Senator Andrew Collard said. ‘We’re setting an example so corporations and organizations do the same.’

The money will come from the unallocated reserves, which currently stands at $75,200, a drop from last years $180,000.

‘It will take effort, time and money to make sure it all happens effectively,’ said Cyndi Signett, A.S. recycling coordinator. ‘We’re doing our part to help make our planet more green.’