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Tuesday, October 07, 2003
Here's the full text of the op-ed that ran a week or so ago regarding the ASUC/GA's position. The Daily Cal cut it
considerably. Too bad, when the full explication of the GA/ASUC's position is so important in judging what to do next.
Free Speech Movement: Forty Years Later
By ASUC President Kris Cuaresma-Primm, Graduate Assembly Academic Affairs
Vice President Temina Madon, Catherine Ahn, Law Student Delegate
Whether you support or oppose Proposition 54, the Graduate Assembly’s recent censure by the UC Berkeley administration for funding a “No on Prop 54” student group should concern you.
The GA’s allocation of funds for lobbying activities is entirely legal.
But questioning that allocation undermines students’ rights to exercise authority over their own fees. Graduate students, undergrads, and faculty across campus should be worried that individuals are challenging student rights guaranteed by the US Supreme Court.
Yesterday, the UC Berkeley administration requested that the UC Office of the President’s General Counsel investigate alleged Graduate Assembly violations of UC policy governing student group funding.
We argue that our government’s allocation abides by the “University of California Guidelines for Funding Registered Campus Organizations and Related Programmatic Activities by Compulsory Student Fees.
Policies noted by representatives of the Daily Cal, namely the UC Policy on Student Governments (80.00), are obsolete because they have been superseded by court cases, including a Supreme Court case, affirming the right of student governments to fund politically partisan activities.
Outdated campus policies have not been amended to recognize the provisions of the Southworth v. University of Wisconsin Supreme Court case of 2000. This case, along with more recent guidelines published by UCOP, undeniably protect the right of student governments to take positions on issues and, more importantly, to devote funds to promoting those positions. Indeed, the UCOP guidelines reflecting the Smith v. Regents and Rosenberger v. Rector decisions state that, “official student lobbying activities on student-related matters may be funded by compulsory student fees available to such student governments.
Furthermore, these same guidelines provide for the funding of organizations considered to be political, religious, or ideological in nature. Examples of these organizations include any group that “supports or sponsors ballot initiatives, candidates seeking election, or other political purposes.” The guidelines further state that students who object to the positions represented by these groups “are entitled to a pro rata refund.”
University policy could not read any more clearly.
The decision by the delegates to the Graduate Assembly to fund Proposition 54 activities was the product of a transparent and democratic process, not of the particular views of its executives (who do not vote on allocation of funds). By challenging the allocation of funds by the Graduate Assembly, our democratic process is undermined.
We urge the student body to carefully evaluate this issue. Failing to engage in thoughtful examination of the facts could result in a substantial weakening not only of our student governments, but also of student governments nationwide.
The power that we currently hold has been gained through decades of steadfast work by scores of student leaders. That power is too precious not to protect.