Fiscal Conservatism Is Not Fascism

by A.S. Campuswide Senator Austin Peters and Revelle College Senator Marco Vasquez

At April 16th‘s Associated Students meeting, a coalition was formed to block the attempt to pull $60,000 out of Associated Student’s Mandated Reserves to fund student organization requests after the account had been depleted for the year. Both of us tried to keep the coalition together, citing unsustainable spending, precedent, need for a long-term solution, the ability to ask College Councils for funding, and more. Opponents of the coalition resorted to personal attacks. We were shamed, called “fascists,””oppressors,” and part of a “white man’s institution actively oppressing minorities,” and were also asked to leave the room. Some of these comments came from council members and others came from the audience. Although funding was eventually approved during a six hour meeting, we held our ground and still voted“No.” We knew that next week’s meeting would be tense.

We were under the impression that another financial showdown could occur, given that there were $57,000 in AS funding requests for the week of April 16 and April 23. Deductions are always made at every Finance Committee meeting for a variety of reasons, but the money seemed to be running dangerous low already. However, we were eventually informed by the VP Finance that $25,000 was available because extra funding was found in different places and moved around. We thought it was humorous how it happened behind the scenes and was discovered only after asking about current levels of funding. We were also informed that tournament requests would no longer be funded this academic year. An inquiry on a $12,000 deficit racked up on the April 9 meeting also revealed that it would be left for the next council to decide what to do with it. In terms of sustainable spending, this council certainly has not been fiscally responsible.

Associated Students received a presentation on Campus Climate and members of council were able to voice concerns and personal opinions. Senator Colin King, in response to the recent elections, proposed a plethora of bylaw changes. Some were approved, such as showing a candidates picture only after a voter clicks on the hyperlink to the candidate statement, but others, such as scrapping the bylaw the prevents the formation of “super-slates” between AS candidates and college council candidates, were tabled. This was done so college senators could bring the information back to their college councils to discuss. The perception is that college councils will not like allowing super-slates again, but the prospect of it passing this upcoming week still seems unclear.

Even though next week will be the last Associated Students meeting for the current council, it should still involve drama as usual.

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One comment

  1. Josh Kenchel · ·

    The title of this article makes a false statement. Nobody in A.S. Council called anybody a fascist. I was at this meeting. Many heated, and I would say over-the-top, accusations were thrown at those members of A.S. Council in opposition to the proposition, but these were all from members of the public (including the only statement that used the word “fascist”).

    Furthermore, the statement that used the word “fascist” was not using that word in reference to fiscal conservatism. (Former Senators) Vasquez and Peters, you put your own spin on this statement in this article. Ted Del Rosario, the member of the public who made the statement (and whom you neglect to mention, instead attributing the statement to A.S. Council as a whole), was suggesting that if a council consisting largely (by far not a majority) of white people were to deny minority cultural organizations their cultural celebrations, it would be an act of fascism. Without assessing the validity of that statement, the fact is that NOBODY in that meeting equated fiscal conservatism with fascism.

    (Former) Senators, I appreciate your fiscal conservatism. Goodness knows that A.S. Council needs more people who understand how to balance the budget.

    The fact of the matter here was that the organizations were promised these funds by A.S. and were depending on them. Think of them as analogous to entitlements of the U.S. government. Would you advocate for denying Social Security or Medicare benefits to retirees who had been paying into those systems all their lives? I doubt it.

    On this issue, you shunned pragmatism in favor of idealism. I do not disagree with your ideals, but I disagree with sticking to them even when the evidence tells you that you should not. That is an attitude that A.S. Council would be better off without.

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