Campus Beat Reporter
At their first spring quarter meeting of the year, Associated Students senators eased into syllabus week with a resolution regarding Reserve Officers’ Training Corps and a presentation on the Isla Vista Recreation and Park District last Wednesday in the Flying A Room.
Senators passed a resolution authored by College of Letters and Sciences Senator Alex Giolito and Off Campus Senator Reilly Hobson to support priority registration for ROTC cadets, which would give cadets similar class registration privileges as those given to campus athletes.
“Some students aren’t going to class because they’re so tired from workouts,” said Giolito. “Some can’t take the majors or classes they want to because they can’t move around their classes in order to accommodate their schedule.”
UPDATE: In a statement to The Bottom Line released on Apr. 17, ROTC cadet and student sponsor of the resolution Austin Amato contradicted Giolito’s statement made during the meeting that ROTC cadets are too “tired from workouts” to attend class.
“ROTC cadets have requirements mandated by U.S Army Cadet Command to fulfill Military Science classes which cause conflicts with other academic classes,” said Amato. “Priority registration is urgent because of Go Army Ed, the same financing system used by student veterans who already receive priority registration. These students must also fulfill requirements for their academic major in addition to stringent GPA requirements, labs, field training exercises, and extracurricular teams.”
In order to meet program requirements to attend at least one three-hour morning training each week, ROTC members have struggled to secure classes, especially those for STEM majors, in recent years as student enrollment and demand has increased.
Student sponsor and fourth year Austin Amato told senators, “If I had the opportunity to utilize priority registration, I would have been more competitive in ROTC, better prepared for classes, and perhaps had the opportunity to further immerse myself into other activities and clubs around campus such as the TMP program.”
A.S. President Austin Hechler is in the process of engaging with administrators to put the plan for ROTC priority registration in action.
Isla Vista Recreation and Parks District Chair Pegeen Soutar and Vice-Chair Paola Dela Cruz later informed senators at Wednesday’s public forum of the upcoming Measure O. The measure, which will be sent to 11,000 registered Isla Vista voters via mail ballots next week, will institute a per bedroom tax of $28 a year for the next ten-year period on all Isla Vista residences.
“We have had an ongoing community engagement process about what we do and the needs people have,” said Dela Cruz on the measure, which is expected to raise approximately $250,000 for the district each year. Funds will go towards improved lighting, a skate park, fitness equipment, and recycled water infrastructure, among other things.
Though several senators initially expressed concern that the fee would push landlords to raise rent costs, Pegeen and Dela Cruz assured students that this would not be the case.
“The tax falls on the property owner,” said Pegeen, “and most property owners have already been paying this fee for 25 years. It expired this year, and this measure is simply renewing the fee for the next ten years.”
According to Pegeen, the limited number of properties new to the fee will be those built after 1991, which includes Campus 880, ICON, and The Loop apartments. Dela Cruz stated that property owners have been included in discussions behind the legislation and some have already committed to not raising rents if Measure O passes.
Though initially on the agenda for Wednesday’s meeting, the 2017-2018 A.S. Elections Ballot, by which all new legislation must be approved by senators before reaching students on Monday, Apr. 24, was tabled for discussion until next week.