Peter Anthony Tariche
The Associated Students, as a form of government, claims its authority from the student body through a contractual agreement between student and student. The Associated Student government claims they have a contractual agreement between students. Yet, it can only purport to be a contract between students who attended the University of California, San Diego, 34 years ago – 1977. Additionally, we know, that only a small portion of people then were consulted over a referendum establishing the Associated Students. And, those who did give their consent, over establishing an Associated Students, no longer attend the University. Once these students graduated from UCSD, any form of contractual agreement between the Associated Student government and the students, left with them. If the students then established a form of government whereby their will would be maintained after 34 years, then we are no less than slaves binded by past students. Now if, those who established our Associated Students, had no power to bind their posterity did their posterity bound themselves; and, if done so, have they done it through fees?
Associated Student’s fees’, being compulsory, of course furnishes no evidence that someone supports the Associated Student government voluntarily. Money by nature, for governments, translates to power. For this reason, whoever desires their liberty, who puts money in the hands of the Associated Student government, gives the Associated Students power to extort more money from future students. Now, the only just form of an Associated Students, is if every student voluntarily signed themselves into the Associated Students, in order to receive its benefits. Now, others could claim their would be a free-rider problem, but modern technology has long solved the problem of proof, in order to receive given services students are provided by the Associated Students.
Now that we have established the importance of consent and contractual agreements, let us discuss the history of UCSD’s Associated Students. The Associated Students was established on December 16, 1964. In 1972, the Associated Students was then abolished. In 1977, through a referendum, the Associated Students was reestablished. Since then, the Associated Students has placed several referendums throughout the years on A.S. Election ballots. One such referendum was in 1983, when the Associated Students choose to not fund the California Review through a referendum. The California Review contested this clear bias and brought this referendum to the courts. The California Review settled for $10,000 dollars, after the Associated Students negotiated a deal outside of Federal Court, and was provided funding afterwards. Beyond referendums the campus passed to suppress right-leaning groups, many referendums have been passed to benefit particular organizations and establish means of transportation for students. These referendums is what gives claim for the Associated Students to take your money – the last established referendum passed was in 2006. These Associated Student fees cost each student $419.46 a year. These funds go to help for organizations, Sun God, busing, recreational activities, and other misc items. And many of these things are good things, but there are many biases that have been established by the Associated Students and illegal referendums that have passed that should be challenged in court.
First let us look at the nature of the Associated Student government and the institutions it has built. The nature of the Associated Students is corrupt. The Associated Student government has allocated stipends for its members and established paid positions, whereby a majority of these internships are filled in by their close friends. They’ve established barriers of entry, and established rewards for particular groups, which violates federal funding guidelines for public institutions, through tradition funding. Secondly, the institutions that have been created by the Associated Students lack quality, provide no returns, and allocate funds for internships. One such example is KSDT radio. The head of KSDT is given a stipend by the Associated Students, yet it lacks quality and equipment, not to mention it only broadcasts online. The Associated Student government has also put the student government in debt by attempting to maintain organizations that made no returns like the Grove Cafe. One such organization that was established by the Associated Students through an illegal referendum in 2006 is SPACES. Every student allocates $7.00 dollars to SPACES, under a referendum that was passed in 2006 – more than likely nobody that voted in that referendum now attends UCSD. SPACES, which completely violates viewpoint neutrality in funding, is illegal under the ruling of Southworth v. Board of Regents, yet, not one person has challenged its legality at UCSD. Not to mention the fact SPACES is illegal and it collects our funds without any form of consent. Additionally, SPACES clearly provides a socialist agenda through its paper the Collective Voice, and provides internships and paid positions for those who are part of the SAAC organizations, just check online! If this isn’t corrupt, then I don’t know what is. But how did this happen? How did these interest groups on campus entangle themselves with our student government, the Associated Students?
Well, if you haven’t noticed by now, the Associated Students holds elections each year. Many of the candidates on these elections run on slates. The members of these slates are primarily those who represent either a large fraternity, political organization, or ethnic group on campus. Primarily for the last ten-years, a majority of our Associate Students slates have been built around the SAAC organizations or their allies. Since these groups have gained power in our government, they have since provided themselves with our student fees. The continued lack of checks and balances from students at UCSD has allowed the Associated Students to become corrupt. We have reached a point whereby these public officials have a clear conflict of interest, and provide kickbacks for their friends and allies.
Now, I have pointed out several things in this article. First, our student government lacks consent. Secondly, the fees’ students pay for our student government are not voluntary and lack proper use. Third, our current system of government has been corrupted, and the institutions administrated by our Associated Students are just as corrupt.
I suggest like in 1972 we abolish the Associated Students. We must set a precedence that we, the undergraduates at UCSD, will not tolerate this corruption and lack of consent any longer. And, if we are going to have an Associated Student government it provides services with our consent. I believe every student on campus enjoys and loves Sun God. I believe, if we are going to have a more consenting, less corrupt form of the Associated Students, funding must be voluntary. And, if referendums are to be passed –which they must be content neutral– they should be voted upon each year! I know voluntary associations maybe a radical notion, but if we are to remove corruption and create a just system of governance, we must allow people to choose if they will be governed, and if so, provide consent through a democratic system of voting over a particular issue once a year.
*The beginning of this article was modeled after Lysander Spooner’s No Treason.
Peter is a senior in Eleanor Roosevelt College majoring in political science.