The hundreds of red “Vote Yes” posters plastering the walls throughout campus in last year’s aggressive ASI fee increase proposal prompted over 5,000 students to vote.
The spark that ignited several thousand to vote last year is lacking in this year’s equally important IRA (Instructionally Related Activities) fee increase referendum that will take place on campus next week, according to students.
The new non-sports related IRA fee increase proposal seems unknown in the student community.
“I haven’t heard or seen really anything about it, I don’t know when it is or how I’ll vote because I don’t know enough about it,” Robert Reeser, a computer science sophomore, said.
Unlike the strong campaign of the ASI proposal, the driving forces behind the IRA campaign felt the previous campaign was too bold.
“There was negative feedback regarding ASI’s last campaign, saying that it was too proactive,” said Victor Brancart, a business analyst for Cal Poly’s Budget and Analytic Business Services.
With this campaign, they have chosen a less intrusive method of informing the student community about the new IRA referendum.
“We are trying to provide the information and then let the students make the decisions,” Brancart said. “Our intent is to keep it low-key, to not ram it down (the students) throats with vote yes.”
Interest in the new IRA referendum pales in comparison to the ASI’s campaign. Instead of packed open forums with heated debates, the IRA proposal’s response has been almost non-existent.
“We are required to have three open forums 30 days before the vote. We had zero people show up to the first, four to the second and five or six to the third; only about 10 people have shown up,” Kimi Ikeda, of academic affairs, said. “We aren’t surprised so few people showed up, it has been the trend in situations like these.”
Ikeda said she feels that students with less financial means will be more inclined to vote because it affects their budget more substantially.
Despite the lack of knowledge on campus, officials are adamant that information about the new referendum has been sufficiently dispersed.
“We’ve held three open forums and can schedule more upon request, there has been three quarter-page ads, an article in the Daily, David Conn (the vice provost of academic programs and undergraduate education) wrote an editorial response to the article, there has been a press release and blanket flyers as well,” Brancart said.
With so few people showing up to the open forums or even knowing about the referendum, Brancart said he doesn’t feel the problem lies in the student population’s general apathy or a lack of advertising.
“I think that student’s plates are too full to worry about the referendum,” Brancart said.
The voting will take place on Feb. 22 and 23, and officials are hoping 10 percent of the student population will vote despite the lack of responses they have received.
For more information visit http://www.academicprograms.calpoly.edu/IRA/.