At the 2012-13 ASUCD budget hearings, senators agreed to give $500 to fund Safe Boats, a houseboat that provides first aid and contraceptives during the annual Memorial Day weekend celebration on Lake Shasta known as Houseboats. Three hundred seventy dollars will go towards Safe Boats itself and $130 will fund Safe Boats education, down from an original proposal of $1,120.
There are certainly valid reasons for ASUCD to not fund Safe Boats. It seems unfair for ASUCD, which is funded by all UC Davis students, to pay for a service that only a few thousand of those students will actually use. Houseboats primarily attracts those involved in the greek system, meaning that ASUCD is essentially funding an organization that many students have, for financial or personal reasons, made a conscious choice not to participate in.
Safe Boats may also unintentionally promote unsafe partying by providing an easy refuge for the reckless and irresponsible. Distributing condoms, granola bars and water bottles will not necessarily discourage attendees from making the decision to participate in unsafe sex, drinking and boat-hopping. The money spent providing these basic items would be better spent on services that will help improve students’ education, not their partying.
Rather than ask ASUCD to donate student fees to Safe Boats, it would be more fair for those who actually attend Houseboats to each donate a small amount, thereby eliminating the need for students who don’t even attend to pay, via ASUCD.
However, by funding other special-interest events such as ethnic graduations, ASUCD has set the precedent that it will not limit its funding to only services that all students participate in. If ASUCD is willing to donate money to small groups that do not necessarily service all students, then it naturally follows that it would fund an initiative like Safe Boats.
Ultimately, ASUCD opted to allot Safe Boats less than half the amount originally proposed, making it more of a symbolic support of safe partying than a burden on the ASUCD budget. If Safe Boats does prevent students from returning to Davis pregnant and suffering from alcohol poisoning, then it has proven itself useful.
Students will rush to Houseboats this weekend regardless of the safety procedures in place. They might as well be able to enjoy a free snack and condom during the festivities.