Student body president vetoes legislation cutting funding to UC-Santa Barbara paper

CALIFORNIA — The student body president at the University of California at Santa Barbara vetoed Friday a measure that would have cut public funding to the campus newspaper, impeding the campus legislature’s effort to punish the newspaper for ignoring a boycott instituted by the legislature.

The author of the legislation, Jeronimo Saldana, hopes to corral the necessary two-thirds majority to override the veto during Wednesday’s meeting of the legislative council, he told The Daily Nexus, the student newspaper. The resolution to cut funding, approved last week 13-5 with two abstentions, originated when the publication sold full-page ads to Conquest Student Housing, a property firm boycotted by the legislative council. Overturning the veto would require support from 16 of the council’s 23 representatives.

In an official letter justifying the veto, Associated Students President Jared Goldschen questioned the legality of the legislative council’s move, and he expressed concern over The Daily Nexus‘ announced intention to file a lawsuit if the funding is not restored.

“I agree with many of the statements and arguments outlined in the bill, however I cannot require that Associated Students take action that is quite possibly illegal and could bring about a lawsuit,” he said in the letter. “Lawsuits are extremely expensive and can have an unnecessary crippling effect on both organizations in return for a small gain.”

Goldschen’s letter also noted that The Daily Nexus is more than $600,000 in debt, and he said it does not make sense to cut the publication during a budgetary crisis.

“The Nexus lock-in fee was voted on by all of the students and was for the purpose of ensuring every student had access to a free copy of The Nexus,” he wrote in the letter.

The funding, which comprises student fees of 85 cents per quarter during the academic year and 57 cents during the summer, provides the paper with about $50,000, or roughly 7 percent of its funding.

Goldschen told The Daily Nexus that he expects the legislative council to try to overturn his veto, and that he hopes the conflict will be resolved through communication between student government and the newspaper.

Kaitlin Pike, editor in chief of The Daily Nexus, also said she looks to the meetings between the two groups as a possible means to relieve tension, according to a Daily Nexus article.

“President Goldschen and I have been in frequent contact regarding this unnecessary squabble between the two institutions,” Pike said in the article. “He and I both desire a solution satisfactory to our relative offices, and we wish to find one quickly.”

Campus administrators have also questioned the legality of the legislative council’s actions. A university spokesman said the school’s general counsel is reviewing the resolution, though he declined to provide specific insight into that deliberation.

The legislative council’s boycott against Conquest Student Housing was spurred by its involvement in the eviction of families from a 55-unit apartment complex near campus. The University of California at Santa Barbara student code states that any Associated Students organization that makes a monetary transaction with a boycotted group can lose its funding. Although the newspaper receives funding from the Associated Students, it is not a member of the coalition.

By Brian Hudson, SPLC staff writer

  • Student government cuts off funds to paper at UC-Santa Barbara News Flash, 1/19/2007