A stark change in opinion characterized the Associated Students Legislative Council, the lawmaking branch of UCSB’s student government, at evening meeting Wednesday, January 24. Whereas members of the council had voted in favor of freezing funding to the Daily Nexus during the previous week’s meeting, they had decided not to pursue the effort, much to the surprise of those in attendance.
Last week, a conflict about journalistic morality and integrity erupted over the Nexus’s running an ad for Conquest Student Housing, the company that manages the Isla Vista apartment building that became a center of controversy last fall when its owners evicted its residents, which were mostly Latino families. In response to the eviction, many campus groups rallied in support of the evictees. Campus resentment of Conquest Student Housing was such that many A.S. officials became upset when the Daily Nexus ran a full-page ad for the now-renovated apartment building. Citing that the advertisement represented a moral disconnect between Nexus staff and the student body, several A.S. Leg Council members—foremost among them Off-Campus Representative Jeronimo Saldana—motioned to restrict A.S. funding to the paper. The paper’s editor in chief, Kaitlin Pike, responded to the charges by saying that the student government group did not have the authority to manipulate the funding, as students had voted that quarterly funding into effect decades before.
Following last week’s meeting, A.S. President Jared Goldschen vetoed Leg Council’s resolution, employing a rarely used power of the president to prohibit the council’s rulings. Though Saldana and other Leg Council members had indicated that they intended to overturn the veto at this week’s meeting, they did not. Meeting attendees arrived to find the item removed from the meeting’s agenda.
The meeting was also characterized by some student sentiment in favor of the paper. A handful of students, some wearing T-shirts bearing anti-A.S. slogans, spoke against the council’s efforts to retrain funding to a publication.
Adding one more noteworthy event to an especially turbulent week for UCSB culture, A.S. advisor Marilyn Dukes also announced that UCSB has selected Jerry Roberts to take over the position of publication director, which was left vacant when veteran Tybie Kirtman retired in September 2006. Roberts, who formerly worked at the Santa Barbara News-Press will chiefly be in charge of the financial side of the newspaper, which the most recent A.S.-initiated audit places at approximately $600,000 in debt.
For more information on the Nexus history, read “A Nexus of Troubles,” the feature news story from the January 25 issue of the The Independent.