All of the opinion pieces this week regarding mandatory fee funding through referenda are completely factually incorrect and are intended to mislead you at the polls. Andrew Saldana, Franklin Bains and Ted Niedermeyer@@he had this name spelled wrong. CQ, asshole! have all misread or misunderstood a Supreme Court case and are confusing it with the First Amendment.

History lesson: In 1999, Scott Southworth sued the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents because he didn’t want his money going to student groups he disagreed with. He said it violated his right to free speech under the First Amendment.@@NICE HISTORY LESSON BUT HE ACTUALLY SUED THEM SEVERAL YEARS BEFORE. READ THIS: GET YOUR OWN FACTS [email protected]@

The U.S. Supreme Court voted in a unanimous decision that he was wrong. They said, in fact, that it is entirely acceptable and appropriate for students to use mandatory fees to fund things they both agree with and disagree with. Why? Because it contributes to the marketplace of ideas on a college campus that fosters debate. The Supreme Court said that as long as the process in which those fees get decided remains viewpoint-neutral there was no problem with funding things that any subset of students disagreed with.

Second, a student-wide vote on fees is not a process that violates viewpoint neutrality. In fact a student-wide vote can be a good process in determining how many students support a program to see if it is worth the fees. The only thing the Supreme Court said was that referenda shouldn’t be the only means to fund a group because that would rule out groups that are unpopular. Hundreds of other colleges use referenda to fund mandatory fees, including our neighbors, Lane Community College. We used to have mandatory fees through referenda but we got rid of them because of similar fear tactics ten years ago. The ASUO is now just trying to right that wrong.

At the end of the day, it seems that all of these writers are scared of democracy. You would think that they would be happy if every student got a chance to vote on their fees instead of just five people on a funding committee with whom they clearly disagree.

So I encourage my fellow students to vote “yes” for this ballot measure. It’s a vote in support of students having more decision-making power over their student fee increases. Don’t listen to the people who don’t believe in or might even be scared of your ability to make decisions.

Kevin Cronin

University student@@

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