Anti-rec center petition questions spending, fee allocation
November 13, 2009 11:49 PM
The Coalition Against the Recreation Center, a student group, has gathered 1,730 signatures in a counter-petition that seeks to keep plans for the proposed recreation center from moving forward.
Signature-gathering for the counter-petition began Oct. 19, one week after the Associated Students, Inc. began circulating a petition in support of the center. CARC turned in their petition on Nov. 6, ASI's deadline.
Both petitions are currently undergoing a verification process through the registrar to ensure that the names and identification numbers are accurate. CARC members oppose the current petition process and want to require more student input on an issue that affects students.
Hard copies of the petitions and an attached letter of complaint were sent to SF State President Robert Corrigan, Vice President of Student Affairs Penny Saffold, and ASI Business Office Executive Director Peter Koo. Electronic copies were sent to the California State University board of trustees, members of the Student Fee Advisory Committee and other entities on campus.
"Everyone who really stepped up to canvass really pulled through," said 24-year-old anthropology senior Krystale Triggs, who helped collect signatures.
CARC members collectively drafted their petition, which stated an opposition to the proposed Recreation and Wellness Center, discussed the cost and estimated completion date and stated that the signer says no to the current recreation center proposal and to unnecessary fee hikes.
According to Triggs, roughly eight to 10 people went around campus gathering signatures for the counter-petition throughout the course of the petition process. Pocket funds gathered in a hat at one of CARC's weekly meetings were used to pay for copying, scanning and binding the petitions.
"It was really, really hard and demoralizing at first," Triggs said. "So many people didn't want to sign it because their jobs are at stake, because they work within the student center. But one day, after I spent three hours petitioning, I felt empowered -- who else is out here telling people what's happening?"
Some CARC members were disappointed that ASI allocated roughly $2,000 worth in prizes. The prizes, including a PlayStation, camera, and movie tickets, were used as incentives for volunteers to gather the highest number of signatures.
Triggs said that it doesn't make sense for ASI to be spending $2,000 on prizes and making plans for a $93 million recreation and wellness center when there are other student resources with tight budgets that could be using the money.
But Raul Amaya, ASI's vice president of university affairs, said ASI funding should be a secondary source, and that organizations seeking monetary support should be self-sufficient.
Amaya, also chair of the student center governing board and a psychology senior, added that the $2,000 came out of ASI's board allowance, not out of organizational funding. He said he Board of Directors could spend that money however they want.
Communication studies sophomore Amrit Dhaliwal, 19, said that she was able to get signatures on the counter-petition by showing students the informational recreation center cards distributed by ASI, which had the proposed fee increases and the estimated opening date on.
"I'm going to be giving about a grand by the time it's built," Dhaliwal said.
"I don't want to be paying for something that I more than likely won't be able to take a part in," said 18-year-old broadcast and electronic communication arts freshman Michael Payton, who contributed to CARC by petitioning and using his skills in amateur filmmaking to put together a video for CARC's Web site.
"They're going to propose a $30 fee increase, that's as significant as groceries," Payton said.
According to Nan Broadbent from University communications, the verification process, to be conducted by the registrar, is going to be long. The large number of signatures collected, and the fact that complete identification numbers were not used in the counter-petition will delay results.
Broadbent said there is no set date for when the results will be made available. ASI would not disclose the number of signatures they collected because they have not been verified.
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