A ham-fisted referendum

Brian Gatten

UT’s Student Government will vote tonight on a resolution that would add a non-binding referendum on tuition increases to the next SG election and call for a scientifically conducted survey of student opinion on tuition policy and budgetary concerns to be administered in coordination with the University’s assessment office. The second objective is an excellent idea, but the first would effectively negate the impact of all student input on tuition and budget policies to date.

A survey of a random sample of UT students with questions on tuition would be tremendously helpful to student leaders and campus administrators. Simultaneously conducting a non-binding referendum — that is, a survey — on tuition increases with the skewed sample set of SG voters and only one or two questions would dilute the impact of a survey independent of the SG elections and would give opponents of tuition increases a false data set to rally around.

Speaking merely as an individual rather than an official representative of the Liberal Arts College Tuition and Budget Advisory Committee or any other group, I believe SG should proceed with its idea of gathering student input on tuition policy in a responsible manner, but SG should know better than to torpedo its own efforts in the same bill with a ham-fisted referendum.