Widgets Magazine

OPINIONS

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

Instead of putting forth a reasonable argument to change ASSU funding policies (“Something that Actually Needs Saving,” April 4, 2011), Zack Hoberg and Dave Grundfest chose to mislead and denigrate fellow Stanford students. Zack and Dave blame “90 graduate students” and the “ridiculous policy that one population can dictate the other’s funding decision” for the rejection of joint Special Fees for FLiCKS. Let’s examine two facts, one conveniently omitted, the other completely glossed over.

Fact one: 655 graduate students, 58 percent of the grad students who voted, said no to funding FLiCKS. Zack and Dave arrive at their 90 students by asking how many grad students (of the 1132 that voted) would have to change their mind to get 50 percent approval. Zack and Dave never mention the 655 no votes, or that these votes comprised 58 percent of the grad votes cast. The repeated use of “90 graduate students” throughout the editorial, without any mention of the real numbers, is disingenuous at best. It becomes blatantly biased when they describe the graduate students as “miserly troglodytes,” especially when the graduate student body approved every other joint fee applications (there were five more) by margins greater than or equal to 10 percent.

Fact two: Zack and Dave mention in passing that FLiCKS, “[elected] to apply for special fees from the entire student population.” They then go on to claim that the 50 percent required approval of each population is “little-known.” This is clear misdirection. The required 50 percent approval is clearly elucidated in the ASSU’s “Information for Special Fee Groups” under the “Voting Procedure” section. Furthermore, the ASSU also include a disclaimer declaring, “The group should make a careful determination of its constituents to determine the appropriate Special Fee to seek.” Asking grad students to pay means making the case that they should pay. FLiCKS failed to do this, resulting in 58 percent of grad voters saying “nay.”

Zack and Dave’s final point becomes clear at the end of the article — that ASSU policy should allow groups like FLiCKS to receive special fees funding from the group of voters who approved it, even if the joint application is denied. Since nearly three out of four undergrads approve of FLiCKS, FLiCKS ought to receive undergrad special fees. The FLiCKS result could have been used to effectively argue for a change in ASSU policy; instead, Zack and Dave chose to make their point by misleading their readers and alienating fellow Stanford students.

 

Dan Sinnett, One of the 477 graduate “yes” voters