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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Steal This Column

Politics can be a pretty confusing thing to follow. Amidst all the talking, making promises and failing to talk about past promises, it’s sometimes hard to tell whether the system is working for or against you.

ASUCD politics are no exception, and despite my somewhat slanted history when it comes to discussing matters of student government, I’m sure there are examples of the system doing its job and benefiting students. Granted, such examples might be hard to find, but this week I’ve decided to stick my nose into two recent developments within the Association and figure out just whose interests are being looked out for.

Number one on the list of noteworthy ASUCD developments centers around the ongoing Memorial Union/ US Bank Deal. For those of you that are unfamiliar with the history behind this issue, don’t be alarmed, it hasn’t exactly been the most public, or even interesting, of issues.

However, those of you who were fortunate enough to follow last quarter’s elections will remember that the vast majority of senate candidates spoke out against the deal, which would deliver $190,000 annually to the university, along with a $300,000 signing bonus.

The arguments against the deal ranged from a shortage of space in the MU, to paranoid rants about the dangers of selling out to corporate America, but ultimately rallied around the idea that the students would not be seeing enough of the funds generated by any contract.

Over the past few months it’s become clear that fighting to contract is no use, the bank is coming whether students like it or not.

Luckily, the only thing that could be done is exactly what ASUCD is designed to do in the first place – lobby the administration to ensure that student interests are met. According to talk at last week’s senate meeting, former president Ivan Carrillo has been continuously meeting with Associate Vice Chancellor Janet Gong in an effort to reword the deal and secure ASUCD a portion of the revenue. While nothing is set in stone, the future behind the deal looks promising, and certainly appears to be taking into consideration the interests of the student body. Thumbs up, ASUCD.

In addition to the US Bank deal, there were also developments in an ASUCD matter that simply refuses to die. That’s right, it’s been almost two months since the polls closed, and ASUCD has yet to clean up the mess left behind by the Winter09 Election Controversy.

Before I start ranting on the ridiculousness of this whole mess, it should be noted that ASUCD isn’t completely responsible for manner in which this controversy has been continuously dragged on. As some of you may have heard, last week’s scheduled hearing on the matter was postponed due to the plaintiff, Chris Ambriz, filing his brief past the deadline.

Now, I understand the desire to do things right, but how much longer can members of the student body question the legitimacy of elected officials that were seated back in February?

Each passing day that this matter lingers around the name of ASUCD means a slight decrease in the organization’s already ailing credibility. When one considers the fact that last week’s senate meeting saw President Joe Chatham deliver his first State of the Association address, you have to wonder what’s to gain by pursuing such a petty complaint against last quarter’s election. Would it really be better to completely undo all the work that these previously elected officials have done, remove them from their offices, and hold another scandal-tainted election? I think not, and believe that this matter warrants a big thumbs down for the Association’s public image.

As I’ve said before, politics can be confusing, but if you look hard enough you’re almost guaranteed to find examples of both the success and failures of government. Luckily, when it comes to ASUCD, you don’t have to look very hard for either.

 

JAMES NOONAN admits that ASUCD isn’t all bad, but also knows that failures are always more fun to talk about than successes. Tell him what you find fun at jjnoonan@ucdavis.edu.

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