TGIF In the Media
The Green Initiative Fund campaign refuses campaign spending limits February 12th, 2009 The Green Initiative Fund may finance campus sustainability projects January 28th, 2009 Letter to the Editor February 3rd, 2009 Columnist James Noonan: Steal This Column February 10, 2008
Include page Winter 2009 ASUCD Election/Nav
2009-01-15 14:14:49 Please don't tell me this is another blank check to the Administration for capital projects. We already had SASI, FACE, and CEI in the last twenty years, and students are still paying for them. —BrentLaabs
2009-01-15 15:58:52 Brent is right, Davis has some of the highest fees already, and it doesn't make sense to just raise them. Why don't folks who care about the environment make the administration live up to the promises they have made instead of just writing them another feel good check? —AndrewPeake
2009-01-16 00:49:23 Can someone post the Bylaws of the oversight board for TGIF? There are some big issues going into this regarding how the committee distributing the funds will be assembled, and how well they can perform their duties and still stay true to the student body and their commitment to sustainability. —AndrewBianchi
2009-01-16 13:39:34 Wow, you really got hit hard with the 20% voting pool requirement. Normally, that's something the Chancellor can waive, but probably not if you wrote it into the measure.
Considering how the students are chosen, I'm not really going to consider it a "student majority" committee. Admin can stop anyone appointed to the fourth student position that they don't like, and student leaders almost always cave first. Enjoy your David Ambrose-style committee. If the primary purpose was to fund student projects, then why not choose an all-student committee? —BrentLaabs
2009-01-16 15:15:34 I understand the intention, and I don't think any of us disagree with making Davis more green but as three people (Myself, Brent and Andy) with some experience with the administration, we have some reservations. I can see some major loopholes that will turn this into just another FACE. —AndrewPeake
2009-01-17 08:46:52 I deleted the Ballot measure as it is undergoing revisions and said I would repost when those revisions have been made. I would appreciate if my edit does not get reverted or the ballot does not get reposted until that time. Sorry. —StephanieCastle
2009-01-17 12:01:33 It's already passed IAC, so you can't actually revise. If you do, you're going to have to (A) get disqualified by the elections committee; or (B) run this in a later election. —BrentLaabs
2009-01-19 23:35:48 This is not and will never be a blank check for administration. In fact, this is a fund targeting student innovations and student leadership. To address the question of making edits on the ballot after IAC passed the language: the document change was made at the request of the office of the vice chancellor of student affairs to aid student voters’ decisions. IAC has consented to accept this change, since it came from the student affairs office, and not the writers of the ballot. To address the issue of not posting the bylaws yet: according to ASUCD, only the language on the ballot itself is voted on, regardless if there are other documents. Also, like it was stated at the 1/15/09 Senate meeting, the majority of the language in the ballot was taken directly from the bylaws. Additionally, when UCSB voted and passed TGIF, they had not even stated a set of bylaws! If any student is interested in signing the petition to put the initiative on the ballot please find us on the Quad any day this week.
2009-01-19 23:57:40 Yes, other initiatives have failed. That's been noted, and we're all aware of that. But to dismiss something such as TGIF that has the potential to be very powerful based on the fear of it turning into a failed initiative is far from the progress that is needed in these times on environmental distress.
I understand the politics are of great importance, but I believe there are larger problems and greater goals than perfecting bylaws. If we keep getting stuck in the fine print, nothing will ever get accomplished.
I'm excited to get involved with this drive and help in what ever way I can to make this campus and community more environmentally sustainable. I know that more people carry the same enthusiasm, and together we can accomplish what is needed. —DoyleRyan
2009-01-21 10:40:33 I understand the reservations that some students might have, but TGIF has some important provisions that protect against wasteful spending:
1. The Committee does not have to spend all of the funds every year. The funds can roll into the next year. 2. TGIF is about funding only the best ideas. The bylaws are written in such a way to deter ineffective spending. 3. TGIF is intended to fund projects that go above and beyond projects already mandated by law or UC Davis policy directive (e.g., standards for new building construction). 4. Projects must have undergraduate student involvement.
Finally, I think TGIF is about enabling students to take an active role in making UC Davis more sustainable. I just hate the idea of students having brilliant ideas and being unable to push forward with them because of a lack of funding. —KaseyTopp
A lot of us hate having brilliant people being unable to push forward through the UC system due to their lack of funding. —ES
2009-01-21 11:46:02 Three words.... "Bicycle Church Funding" —JimStewart
2009-01-21 15:06:04 We are in a period of rising fees and cuts to student academic resources. Why is it a priority to raise fees for "green projects" instead of raising fees for academic, counseling, technology resources? —JamesSchwab
2009-01-21 15:29:21 Are these projects "shovel ready"? —BrentLaabs
2009-01-21 19:49:05 I completely agree with James Schwab's comment above. I am extremely skeptical of a new fee, as I suspect most students are. While it's a nice idea to promote sustainability, all you have to do is read the newspaper to see how many programs and resources are at risk of having funding slashed. I would much rather support things that have proven success or will make a significant improvement in my day to day life (like, the learning skills center, unitrans, or the coho). —OscarSabino
2009-01-21 22:15:08 If this initiative succeeds in stealing my money for this useless project, I will burn Styrofoam on the quad everyday...Ok maybe not, but I will litter. A lot. And let my truck idle. And club baby seals and eat panda steaks. TGIF will need a project solely to clean up after me. Bad enough the regents are gonna raise fees upwards of 10% soon. Get your money from somewhere else. —MattBlair
That's very mature. If you're going to be so rebellious, at least follow through. - GregWebb
Perhaps you're right, but I don't think it's worse than the self-important grandstanding you always engage yourself in. I mean come on, the new ACT is inspired by the legends of the three man one you helped create? Please. That and if you couldn't tell, the list of my actions gets progressively less feasible and ridiculous.
"the self-important grandstanding you always engage yourself in" ... that's very insulting, I don't even know what you're referring to, most of what I do isn't about me at all. If ACT is supposed to be an example, it's a bad one. I have been claiming that the new ACT has nothing to do with my ACT, only pointing out cool coincidences. Perhaps before you kick and scream about new fees, you should stop cheerleading for people that have been misusing the fees you already pay. - GregWebb
2009-01-25 16:44:49 I understand that the bylaws aren't being voted on, but if the language of the ballot measure came directly from the bylaws, wouldn't it help to frame them better for voters wanting to know more about the issue by making those bylaws readily available? Also, for those of us with issues regarding the structure of the Grant-Making Committee, what would that amendment process look like? I disagree with the notion that the Co-ops should be selecting a representative from their own ranks to sit on a committee that will likely hear a couple, if not many proposals from that same body of students. If I wanted to see this changed, what steps would I have to go through? Why was the structure of the body included in this ballot measure? Why do we have to hire a full-time staffer to do what a un-paid student coordinator does for CFC? Why don't we have a directly-elected official regulating a much larger sum of money than ASUCD's annual Senate Reserves? It seems that the authors of this ballot measure will end up benefiting most from it's passage if they don't graduate before the first deadline. I feel as though the central arguments for this fee includes "other schools have it and we need to be better," to which I would note we also have the highest campus-based fees. Should others aspire to that goal too? Washington Monthly didn't rank us 10th nationally because we're falling behind in service to our community and the environment. The Sierra Club recently designated the UC system (declaring any distinction between it's 10 campuses unnecessary) along with the Eco League colleges as stand-alone "shining stars" in eco-friendliness and environmental stewardship. This hardly makes a case for another fee to be assessed to students for capital improvements in the middle of this horrible economic climate. The Grant-Making body is ill-conceived, the timing is off, and it's usefulness can be characterized as a pet-project for students looking to write a senior thesis. —AndrewBianchi
2009-01-25 21:46:00 Do any of the organizers want to answer my first question? "We are in a period of rising fees and cuts to student academic resources. Why is it a priority to raise fees for "green projects" instead of raising fees for academic, counseling, technology resources?" —JamesSchwab
2009-01-27 22:56:59 First, the bylaws would help voters. However, they are not currently available because we were getting signatures and our priority was to ensure the initiative makes it to the ballot (which the signatures are for). Once that is accomplished the bylaws will be made available.
Second, please read over the current ballot. Because you will notice the Co-ops will work with RHAB to select a student within student housing. Also, you are misinformed regarding the grant coordinator. The position is part-time and not a full-time position. The part-time position is there to adequately promote and assist undergraduates with the grant application process. In regards to an un-paid student versus the grant coordinator, CFC and TGIF are not the same. Therefore, why compare? CFC grants top out at $2,000 per submission (per club, per year). TGIF could have grant applications for significantly more funds and reach beyond SPAC clubs. Also, the applicants may need assistance with contacts in administration, facilities and what will be a more rigorous grant application than for CFC.
I understand the concern about raising fees on students. Yet, $4 ($12 a year) seems insignificant when compared to the nearly $10,000 a year cost to attend UC Davis (not including housing, food etc.). It is similar to giving up a Starbucks once a quarter for The Green Initiative Fund. I believe TGIF is asking students to make a small sacrifice to better themselves and the UC Davis campus As far as timing, when do you propose? Should we wait for others to do such an initiative for us? I believe not.
In summary, you seem to be an intelligent person through our encounters. I presume that you have posted such misinformation not as a result from misreading the ballot, but as some ill-conceived attempt to create a basis for your opposition to TGIF. To the comment below, I believe it is important to raise funds for TGIF because nothing exists like this to benefit students. The most important factor is not if I feel this fee is important enough but do other students. Interestingly enough, we achieved our goal for signatures and expect official approval this week. Additionally, students voted to increase fees by $61 per quarter for Division 1 athletics beginning in 2006-2007. Do I really need to compare $4 to $61? I am also aware that UC Davis has the highest fees of all campuses; however, in an article from ucdavis.edu I found:
“While campus-based fees are higher for UC Davis' undergraduates than for other UC undergrads, the total cost of attending UC Davis ranks near the bottom. UC Davis this year ranks No. 7 among UC's eight general campuses when total expenses are calculated for those living on campus and No. 8 for those living off campus.” -http://www.news.ucdavis.edu/search/news_detail.lasso?id=6295
I appreciate constructive concerns, comments and ideas. To everyone reading this wiki page, thank you for visiting-even if you are in no longer in Davis or a student.
I was honestly mistaken regarding the part-time employee administering the fund. However, I still think there is more work to be done to see if this can be incorporated into an existing position in Student Affairs, like the SPAC Business Office. That is not to say that if passed, it should be a subsidiary of SPAC, but the possibility of collaboration on this point should be explored.
The ballot reads that a student residing in student housing will be chosen from a committee comprised of student housing residents exclusively from the Cooperative Living Communities on campus. No where does in the committee mock-up does it state that RHAB will have a say in the selection process. This sounds to me like it can easily become a conflict of interest. Why should the Cooperative Living Communities be involved on the board anyway? Why not the student directors/leads of R4, Campus Center for the Environment, or a representative from the Experimental College Gardens?
There is no provision for a directly elected representative, which I think is necessary when we're looking at such a large sum of money.
How long has this project been in the works? I was under the impression that work on TGIF started last spring. Are the bylaws not yet completed? If so, how hard it is to copy and paste on to Daviswiki? I don't understand why this had to wait till after the petition received enough signatures.
It may seem like an insignificant sum to you, but we are voting to force students to pay a fee to fund a program that, perhaps, more than the majority of students will never see or take advantage of. I disagree with the FACE initiative (which was passed long before I came to Davis), and the move to Division-I because such a transition should have taken place only if the University could have secured bonds or used standing registration funds. With the standard 7-10% increase in student fees, I am against any increase that doesn't directly benefit a significant portion of the student population for an extended period of time (decades), like the Unitrans Fee Referendum. Student fees have gone up more than 70% during our time at Davis.
Are there any restrictions regarding proposals beyond what the ballot prescribes? I would strongly encourage a "capital" request only section, mandating that programs that last greater than 5 years, so that they are indeed - sustainable.
It is clear that this resolution is more than likely to pass now that it's on the ballot. I still believe the committee is an inappropriate structure for TGIF, and it's unfortunate that it would take an additional ballot initiative to change it. Ultimately, I don't think TGIF will prompt campus-wide awareness of sustainable issues or have any legitimate impact on the average student's day-to-day life (as a tax or a student program). I think this fund will produce an obscene amount of student money available only to a select few communities on campus - and that's if the administration doesn't abuse it by using the money for pre-planned projects so they can spend their funds elsewhere. Lastly, I do apologize for overstating the employment requirement of TGIF, but don't assume that just because I don't agree with you means I would lie to achieve an end. —Andrew Bianchi
2009-01-28 23:34:25 TGIF feels like a large expenditure when there are so many other projects on campus that need funding. I use the Learning Skills Center which has saved me and my fellow students from failing the difficult and impersonal large lecture hall style classes such as 118 Chem series. I hear that they are being cut consistently making the tutors less able to deal with the individual hurting the overall education. Why arn't we funding these great programs instead.
This money should go to ensuring students have a better education. And do we really need another tax on students? The governor and regents have been raising our tuition all the time. These $4 here and $15 there all add up on the long run to huge fee increases forcing people to drop out of school because they can no longer afford an education.
TGIF is the last thing students need, having fellow students increase our cost of education while the governor is balancing the budget on the back of the students. —DonGibson
2009-01-29 02:09:38 BrianSeaby - the link you posted claiming UC Davis has the third lowest fees in UC is from 2003. Things have changed a lot since then. —OscarSabino
Oscar is quite right, currently UCD has the highest fees of the UC system at $8,638 (excluding the health insurance that puts it at $9,496). That is over $250 more than the next school, UCSB, and $1,085 more than the least expensive school, UCLA. These are the numbers for the 08-09 school year, a chart that is downloadable at the bottom of this page has the details.~Matt Shannon
To add onto this, I have to say how disappointed I am with the timing of TGIF. As nice as the program may be, having it pass at this time would cripple the efforts of the students trying to lobby the state legislature and regents. Both groups keep an eye on the fees and will notice the passing of a fee that levies $290,508 a year (24,209 x $12) for a pet project slush fund. I assure you that the UC Regents will consider this fee when they decide to raise fees (which they will assuredly be doing) and if this passes, they will have extra ground to raise our tuition to even higher amounts. And as for the state legislature, if this passes the staffers will use this fee as reason to dismiss the efforts of our lobby corps to keep fees low as hypocrisy. ~Matt Shannon
2009-01-30 06:57:37 The exact same "it's only $4" can be made for any new fee for any popular project or resource. UCD going more green would be amazing, but increasing fess at a time of financial collapse, curtailed admission, and rising regular fees, is ridiculous. Why not set up a body to write grants for federal funds? Why not start a campaign to divert some of the bookstore profits away from CURB and to TGIF? —JamesSchwab
Geez James, those suggestions sound awful complicated....AndrewBianchi
2009-01-30 14:59:34 I honestly don't understand why people are accusing the people behind TGIF of being without good ideas. When I was on the Business and Finance Commission, I saw people like Brian Seaby come to ASUCD for funding. We saw quite a few projects that would qualify for TGIF funding in fact. And the answer was always no because there wasn't enough money and we didn't offer them any alternatives. We in ASUCD were the people without ideas. And so through a fee-based initiative, they have sought to correct the failures to obtain funding.
Sure a fee increase is an unfortunate thing, I know this. But what else can we do but sit around and wait for better leadership in the state of California. I don't think we should tell students to put their dreams and visions on hold. Ultimately a lot of the arguments against TGIF are valid, I completely understand the financial struggles of students. Whether this passes or not, students are going to feel the burn. TGIF did in fact have to take their fee increase to the people and despite the weather working against them, they were able to sell the idea to thousands of students.
So we can debate, but the students will decide.
And if the past four ASUCD presidents have not been able negotiate to get a decent cut of the US Bank deal in return for losing the East Conference Room, then how can you expect the people behind TGIF to collect anything near $200,000 from CURB. It sounds great but really?
TGIF is the only solution that isn't waiting around for Sacramento to change. —GregWebb
2009-02-05 21:50:20 Wow. Wow. The two things I'm wowing about: Is DCD running a campaign to keep taxes (fees) low? CFC is supposed to be an example of a well run organization? Y'all are keeping life crazy. —BrentLaabs
2009-02-07 00:50:18 On a personal level, I have a lot of respect for the opponents of this measure, but unfortunately I have to disagree rather strongly with their positions.
In my mind, the issue is rather simple. Should students take on issues that exist beyond the walls of campus. Should students use collective resources to tackle the issue of climate change. The answer is simply yes.
Schwab's (and others') issue of raising student fees during economic recession. Those affected by hard economic times are not looking at their ASUCD fee with fear, theyre looking at their thousands of dollars of tuition, their rent, their book prices, their food, and most of all, their debt. Peake is not the only one talking about Davis having the highest fees already. Personally as a student, I was proud of us having high fees and great services. I was proud that we had a powerful student government that could actually affect changes that students wanted because we had a budget that mattered. The level of control students have at davis is great compared to other UCs, but still somewhat weak compared to other campuses in the country.
We have a President that is callig a on a country to dig itself out of the muck by leading the world in sustainability, education, healthcare, and other cost heavy, big reward areas. There's a reason for this it aint just fixing the economy.
I learned a lot from hours upon hours upon hours of pledging students for CALPIRG. I think what struck me the most is how ready and willing our students are to pitch in to take on the bigger issues of the day. I think if you asked the question simply and you thought Davis students would disapprove, you are underestimating aggies. Time and again, davis students have come through in support of these things.
Throw all the process and background stuff aside. The issues is simple. Do aggie students support these programs? I would bet the answer is yes. —MikeReagan
Mike! Long time no see! I hope life is treating you well.
I appreciate your input on this and would like to address your concerns about the con argument. I would love to see Davis as a greener campus, but I see the current set up of TGIF rife with problems. Yet these are fixable if people were to sit down and rewrite the petition taking into account the concerns of the No campaign. TGIF is a copy of the program as it is at other UC campus, but I think it is performing horribly over there primarily due to it being way over-budgeted for the amount of interest there is in it(resulting in student money being wasted). If they start with a smaller amount and fix the problems with the grant committee I would stand behind it. Honestly, in its current form I would like it to fail, but my hope is that the proponents of this bill take my constructive criticisms and use them (and the critiques of others) to rewrite it next year. I think it worth waiting one year so that we don't have a TGIF that promotes the environment with a side helping of disservice and waste. Instead, we can have a TGIF that works effectively and efficiently for the students.
Ten Reasons to Vote No on The Greed Initiative Fund
It make highest fees even higher. Due to previous fee referenda such as SASI, FACE, and CEI, the student fees at UC Davis are already the highest of any public university in California. Can you afford to pay another $12 a year for capital projects when the campus already gets over $800 a year for campus building projects?
It sends the wrong message. This is time when the State of California is facing its worst budget defecit ever, and legislators cannot comprimise on tax increases and spending cuts. This sends the message to the state that students are willing to pay higher fees right now, so maybe another 10% fee increase wouldn't be so bad. A yes vote would cripple our lobbying efforts for access and affordability for your education; your no vote tells Sacramento that we can't take fees any higher.
The initiative is poorly written. As it is, it requires that money from TGIF be used for "sustainable development by providing necessary resources" to UCD and that this Grant-Making Committee enact "develop, propose, and enact sustainable projects." But it never mentions what kind of sustainability. Is it environmental or economic sustainability that we're talking about here? Due to this vague language, what is now an idealistic project could become yet another slush fund for campus administrators.
Inadequate student representation. If this is all money that is going to be spent on student projects, why have half of the Grant Making Committee be non-students? In circumstances like this, the party with institutional memory (i.e. Administrators) will always dominate the committee. Students should determine the use of their own voluntary fees, such as in ASUCD, the Club Finance Council, or through other campus committees.
The wrong vision. Barack Obama issued a call for us to promote environmental stewardship and be willing to sacrifice. But students should be making the sacrifice to be the best students they can be — so they can solve the problems our future with knowledge — not struggling to survive in school by working long hours. This university should ask alumni to improve our campus, not ask students for yet another sacrifice. Tax those who can afford it, not those of us with an ever increasing student loan debt.
Efficiency projects are supposed to save money. Many of the capital projects that this initiative was designed to create will actually save the Administration money. Solar panels save on electric bills, and electric vehicles will replace our aging cars. And yet, the cost savings we get won't make our fees go down — we'll still be paying $12 a year for projects that generate revenue for campus.
Perpetual Fees. Many of us want to support TGIF, because we see it as the Bike Church Enablement Act. I too would like to see the Bike Church return to campus. However, this is a perpetual fee, not just funding for a one time project. Future generations will have to cope with this fee, just like every other one that has passed before.
Funding the wrong people. ASUCD has not increased its fees in thirty years, but every five years or so, we pass another slush fund for the Administration. So while student entertainment, environmentalism, advocacy all dwindle, this will create yet another program to let other people manage student money. It's time that students began believing in themselves, and not in the power of campus administrators.
No oversight. The Grant-Making Committee is a kingdom onto itself, with no oversight or veto on how the fees are spent. They write their own bylaws, and only one member (the ASUCD President) is elected by the students whose fees are being spent. At other UC campuses with similar fees, this has resulted in $10,000 urinals and other fiascoes. This is likely to continue at UC Davis, where the directors of environmental units will oversee how funding is spent on environmental units. The Grant-Making Committee will provide pretend oversight to this cozy conflict-of-interest setup.
A poorly concieved plan. Environmental sustainabilty is an admirable goal. But an initiative that does not even use the phrase "environmental sustainability" is an instrument ill-suited to that goal. It would be hard to think of a worse time to try to achieve that goal than in the midst of a financial catastrophe at a public university with the highest fees in the state. Do you really trust the initiative sponsors to truly achieve a more environmentally sustainable campus with a poorly written, improperly timed, oversight-free policy?
2009-02-17 22:24:45 It will be rather comical if Joe and Chris win on Friday and TGIF doesn't or visa versa. It was Joe's lack of leadership over the past 8 months, I believe, that lead to the poorly structured initiative. I would even wager a guess to say that he kept TGIF under his purview and away from the public in order to use it for political capital this election. If the Yes on TGIF campaign had hosted townhall-esque meetings, or had they incorporated a wider range of elected officials in it's construction, TGIF wouldn't be wrought with failure (if not elective failure, than operational). However, TGIF was written behind closed doors in such a fashion that it has now been met with great disapproval by many campus leaders, and hopefully this will be reflected in the vote. It also goes to show that while the Aggie endorsements are always a prize in ASUCD election, their quality is generally lacking. How the editorial board of the Aggie urges students to vote No on TGIF, but then contradicts themselves by recommending a vote for all it's major proponents running for ASUCD elective office boggles my mind.
Perhaps it has something to do with the other candidates being less qualified. —PeteWillits