The Arizona Desert Lamp

More on Welfare Wednesday

Posted in Campus, Politics by Connor Mendenhall on 5 February 2009

Have you seen the little piggies?The logo for the student union’s “Savvy Students Unite!” program, which provides $3 combo meals from campus eateries on Wednesdays, is a little pile of piggies. It’s fitting, because the program is an avalanche of pork.

According to this year’s student services fee budget, Welfare Wednesday is the result of a direct $250,000 support payment to Arizona Student Unions, and the biggest single outlay from the fee. That’s right: your student government pays more for Welfare Wednesdays from your student fee than it does to support Safe Ride, offer extra financial aid to students, or pay the base salaries of 15 student employees! Worst of all, this straight-up transfer payment for burgers, hot dogs, and chicken sandwiches is an attempt to promote “increased food variety” on campus, which students selected as their number one priority in last year’s round of student fee surveys. Three-dollar options get as exotic as a “bagel sandwich,” but I doubt that this is what most students were hoping for.

Free exchange this is not. This payment is a subsidy, and it’s a particularly atrocious bit of pork–with distributed costs paid by every student forced to cough up $20 (soon to be $40) a semester, and concentrated benefits borne only by the Student Union itself and lovers of Café Sonora’s bean chimichangas who happen to be free for a quick bite between 10:30 and 1:30 on Wednesdays. It’s a little boggling, since the Student Union can’t cough up votes for student politicians in exchange for the kickback–but I’m sure the Grilled Chicken Caesar Wraps and circuses will be fondly remembered by a few come campaign time, while most of the campus (the same 95-odd percent who ignore student elections every year?) remain blissfully unaware that they’re buying another guy’s burger once a week.

Welfare Wednesday eats up a full 17 percent of your student services payment–and it’s reason enough to abolish the fee altogether.


8 Responses

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  1. Emily Fritze said, on 5 February 2009 at 4:11 pm

    “That’s right: your student government pays more”
    ^^^ The student government does not decide any of the appropriations of the Student Services Fee. Student Affairs was responsible for the survey and the appropriations last year. This year, the Student Fee Committee will decide how the fee is allocated. ASUA has only been involved in the set up of the committee.

  2. Connor Mendenhall said, on 6 February 2009 at 1:08 am

    Fair enough. The fee process is more or less automated, and that’s another downside to our growing Erevnocracy: no sensible student leaders to take bloated and sickly programs out behind the barn. But you’re right. Student government isn’t involved as much anymore.

    Hard to say the same thing about the past, though. The official history of the program, available at the Student Services Website, mentions that the fee “was achieved through the efforts of UA student leaders” and that “the Associated Students of The University of Arizona (ASUA) and Graduate Professional Student Council (GPSC) created a survey tool designed to assess the level of interest the general student body had in providing financial support towards a variety of student affairs initiatives.”

    Student government created the fee; Rule of the Survey now controls it. I’d like to see the Senate throw up their collective hands like mad scientists and yell “what have we done?! We’ve created a monster beyond our control!” But I’ll settle for an angry gang of torch- and pitchfork-wielding undergrads.

  3. […] Welfare Wednesday, so here’s a little food for thought as you chew on that chicken sandwich paid for by […]

  4. […] and plasma TVs. Even the programs that are deemed ‘popular’, such as ‘Welfare Wednesdays,’ use up far more of the funds than they […]

  5. […] Posted in Campus, Politics by Connor Mendenhall on February 18th, 2009 This week’s Welfare Wednesday fun fact comes courtesy of lover of Lamp and loyal commenter Jimi Alexander: The money earmarked […]

  6. […] 2009 As if the litany of other absurdities associated with the Student Services Fee weren’t enough, recipients of SSF money must use some of the funds to pay for the ‘Mark of the Fee’ […]

  7. […] You might have heard of this. To clarify, this is not a $320,000 increase (with the subsequent addition of Food Stamp Friday), but rather a 3 percent adjustment to the previously allocated amount. […]

  8. […] mean, you didn’t actually think this was your money, did you? That you should be able to spend the $80 that go from […]

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