Over the year and a half I’ve been writing this column, I’ve encountered a variety of different responses. Some students have been motivated by my efforts, others have been appalled by them, but so far nothing has caught me more off guard than a displeased TGIF supporter who insisted that I smell her in the middle of a crowded Coffee House breezeway.
That’s right, of all the arguments I put forward against The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF) last week the thing this person found most displeasing was the title, “Dirty, Smelly Hippies.” Fueled by the idea that this bizarre incident might one day make a killer opening to a column, along with a nagging impulse of morbid curiosity, I accepted the invitation. To my surprise, this individual smelt fine; some might even go as far as to call the odor pleasant.
However, none of this changes the fact that the ragged piece of legislation she stands behind still wreaks of failure, ignorance and dishonesty.
Now, in the final days leading up to the ASUCD elections, TGIF supporters have begun to cling to a collection of half-truths, manipulated statistics and downright lies to paint the initiative as something it most certainly isn’t.
Considering that voting starts tomorrow, and that I have nothing better to do than to help defeat this poorly planed ballot measure, I encourage you to follow along as I give the arguments in favor of TGIF what one supporter aptly titled a “sniff check.“
TGIF Claim: “The UC Davis Green Initiative Fund is based on functioning programs present on other UC Campuses.“ Wrong! TGIF has been historically inefficient.
During both of last weeks ASUCD senate debates, candidate Kevin Massoudi claimed that TGIF was “wildly successful” on the UC Berkeley, UCSC and UCSB campuses. Perhaps Massoudi and I have different definitions of success, or perhaps the more likely solution is that he wishes to conceal the fact that the TGIF programs on these three campuses have yielded more that $500,000 of unused student funds.
Independent candidate Joe Chatham, who announced that the TGIF program at UCSB was, “allowed to spend all the money on programs supporting sustainability“, echoed this dishonest claim in last Thursday’s presidential debate. In reality, only $295,000 of the available $364,000 was spent on programs, wasting close to $70,000 of student funds.
Unfortunately, the threat of wasted or misused fees does not end there. According to the UC Student Services and Fees Administrative Advisory Committee, an annual $40,000 would be required to create the proposed staff position, while another $30,000 would go towards administrative details.
These often-ignored statistics make me want to label TGIF a lot of different things, and “wildly successful” definitely doesn’t make the cut.
TGIF Claim: “Even with the proposed $4 a quarter increase, UC Davis will still have the ‘second lowest cost of education‘ of any campus in the UC system.” Time for another fact check, chief.
This gem of a claim, also cited frequently by Massoudi, has never been fully explained. Due to his refusal to provide a definition, I will make the reasonable assumption of interpreting “cost of education” to mean the annual amount students pay the university in exchange for instruction. All UC campuses are subject to the statewide educational fee of $6,262, the $864 registration fee, and the $872 health insurance charge. The only factor that makes one campus more expensive than the next are the “campus based fees,” for which Davis students pay a whopping $1,512.60/yr. Considering the average campus based fees, including those of UCD, are only $901.00/yr, any argument that UC Davis is a bargain when compared to the rest of the system is absolutely absurd. Granted, I’m an English major, but I’m pretty sure the equation $1,512.60 > $901 hasn’t become untrue since I left grade school.
If these glaring attacks on honesty aren’t enough to make you think twice about the merits of TGIF, then I suggest you consider the fact that the campaign has refused to sign the ASUCD Election Committee’s voluntary spending agreement, a measure which the fifteen senate candidates unanimously supported during last week’s debate.
It should come as no surprise that a campaign willing to flood a public debate with half-truths and manipulated facts would have no problem spending an unregulated amount of funds on a flashy website and daily ads in the paper that I’m sure can be found somewhere in this issue. Rather than be duped by this band of liars, I urge students to get out and vote down this slush fund and put this unnecessary tax on students to rest.
If anyone disagrees with JAMES NOONAN’s take on things they should come watch the TGIF debates today. Anyone who still believes him to be wrong can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.