Vote ‘no’ on the Arts, Music and Programming Initiative referendum

A guitar and music notes
Alexander Hong/Staff

The Arts, Music and Programming, or AMP, Initiative referendum is, at best, comparable to spending an exorbitant amount of money on a glass of lukewarm water.

The AMP Initiative, according to the referendum language, seeks to “enhance both the student life and culture of UC Berkeley.” But the organization hasn’t demonstrated how an increase in funding will achieve this lofty goal, so why should students dish out an additional $6 per semester?

They shouldn’t. And that’s why you should vote “no” on this referendum.

The AMP Initiative would increase the already excessive semesterly student activity fee from $27.50 to $33.50. Last year, SUPERB — one of the groups that benefits from this fee — was the highest funded organization, according to the 2018-19 ASUC Annual Budget and Spaces Allocation. And in an interview with The Daily Californian’s editorial board, one of the referendum’s proponents was unable to clearly explain why this funding wasn’t enough.

Rather than making this halfhearted effort to increase an already existing fee, SUPERB should reduce the number of events they put on each semester and focus on quality, marketing and outreach to students to increase attendance. Additionally, members should implement cost-saving measures to ensure efficiency in spending and planning events.

Referendum proponents have said that SUPERB events and entertainment could support mental wellness among students. But spending for mental health support at UC Berkeley can be allocated in many more effective ways, such as increasing Tang Center services and outreach to communities who are disproportionately impacted by mental health issues. Entertainment, while a valuable part of the campus experience, is not a holistic wellness solution.

If SUPERB truly is set on increased funding through student fees, it should come back to the table with a clearer proposal that shows how the entire campus community will benefit from them.

Vote “no” on the AMP Initiative referendum.

Editorials represent the majority opinion of the Editorial Board as written by the opinion editor.