Students should vote no on this year’s referendum

In addition to endorsing candidates for Student Association president and vice president, the editorial board also recommends how students should vote on referenda that are on the ballot in the SA elections. In past years, there have been hot-button referenda, from gauging student sentiment about fossil fuel divestment to approving a process to more expeditiously remove SA presidents who engage in bad behavior.

But this year, there’s only one on the ballot – a pair of minor SA procedural fixes that would simultaneously overcomplicate the student organization funding allocation process and allow incumbent senators to saddle their successors with a budget even after they have left office.

We urge students to vote no on this referendum.

The referendum would confirm a piece of SA legislation called the Financial Practice Act. If passed, potential increases to the Student Association fee would be put up to a nonbinding referendum for students, even though the University would have final say on whether or not the fee was hiked. SA funding seems like a spurious item to submit to the student body for approval. The whole point of a Student Association fee is to create a steady means of funding that does not rely on students chipping in voluntarily. This is an unnecessary step that has the potential to do little more than confuse students and make people angry about having to pay an SA fee at all – not an ideal outcome.

Passing this referendum would also enact a fix to the SA Senate budget process that would be, in the grand scheme of things, no big deal – it would eliminate the need for the budget to be voted on both by outgoing senators at the end of the academic year and new SA senators at the beginning of the year. Essentially, the budget that senators vote on when their terms are almost up would be the budget that their successors would be governed by. While in practice the new senate usually quickly approves the budget by voice vote, it does not seem like a good idea to let people who are leaving office saddle their successors with a budget on their way out the door. Students should vote down this referendum – but the consequences either way are fairly minimal.

The editorial board consists of Hatchet staff members and operates separately from the newsroom. This week’s staff editorial was written by opinions editor Andrew Sugrue and contributing opinions editor Shreeya Aranake based on discussions with culture editor Anna Boone, contributing sports editor Nuria Diaz, design editor Grace Miller and copy editor Jaden DiMauro.

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