Arizona Daily Wildcat November 18, 1997
ASUA Fliers say vote yes, or do they?Debate over publicity for the Memorial Student Union referendum intensified yesterday as ASUA unveiled fliers that anti-fee organizers said all but endorsed a yes vote.
Associated Students officials defended the fliers, saying they only asked students to cast their ballots.
The fliers use the word yes, but never refer directly to the vote.
"YES for Union is a YES for Students," a green handbill states.
"Say YES to a student voice, vote on the STUDENT UNION REFERENDUM," a second, pink flier states.
Students will vote today and Wednesday on whether to assess themselves a $40 per semester fee to pay for $31.5 million of a proposed $70 million in Memorial Student Union renovations.
Jeff Schrade, chairman of the "Union Yes, Fee No!" committee said he was "angry" that Associated Students government was funding fliers that so openly implied a yes vote on the referendum.
"From the outset this issue has been one-sided," Schrade said. "This clearly crosses the line, especially so close to the election."
Schrade added the fliers create a conflict of interest for ASUA.
"In what democratic nation can you have people counting ballots, running an election and advocating a vote?" Schrade said.
Last week, ASUA President Gilbert Davidson said the student government had not spent "one cent" on anything that promoted a yes vote, and maintained that statement yesterday.
"It's up to your interpretation," he said. "To me, they (the fliers) say go out and vote in the referendum."
Davidson said, however, he had "every right" to promote a "yes" vote because the ASUA Senate passed a resolution supporting the referendum.
"I'm not going to do that, though, because I want to educate and just promote the referendum."
Sen. Summer Katzenbach, who has been opposed to the fee and ASUA's involvement with it, expressed her displeasure with the recent developments.
"ASUA has really been surprising, disturbing and frustrating," she said.
ASUA Elections Commissioner Marcos Hernandez said he approved the fliers, which have been posted in classrooms and handed out to students, because of the senate resolution.
"I am the final executioner of the code and if it (ASUA) is doing something wrong, I'll slam them on it," he said. "But ASUA passed the resolution to support the referendum, so I allowed it."
Hernandez also said ASUA did not have specific election codes for referendums, but said he had been following state and county precedents.
"I'm trying to keep up the integrity of this election, and if it's going to be contested it won't be from anything I've done," he said.
According to a Memorial Student Union Fast Copy receipt btianed by the Arizona Daily Wildcat, the 600 news fliers cost $81.80.