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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

BTV amendment fails, receives 30% of vote

Published: March 25, 2005
Section: News

BTVs proposal to increase its funding by over 150% by taking money from other Secured Organizations was roundly defeated in balloting on Wenesday and Thursday. The amendment, which needed the approval of 2/3 of voters, secured only 30.68 percent of the vote. Over 1000 students voted against the amendment in a record turnout.

The results, which were released by Union Secretary Aaron Braver 07 in a broadcast email this morning, were kept secret throughout the day Thursday under a gag order from the Union Judiciary. The UJ ordered the Secretary to not certify the results or make them available until it had time to rule on a case filed by Archon against BTV. The Archon case, which alleged BTV misrepresented facts concerning the yearbook, was withdrawn late Thursday and the injunction was lifted by Justice Mark Samburg soon after.

We withdrew case after we found out the results, Archon Editor Shu-Yee Chen 05 told the Hoot. We wanted to end on the good note to let whatever students decided through the democratic process stand.

Chen said that had the amendment passed Archon would have continued with the hearing process to attempt to show, that this vote was driven by false information that may have swayed voters.

Former BTV President Nate Westheimer, who headed the amendment campaign, was critical of the other Secured Organizations.

Seeing the level of attack campaigning against BTV in the days leading up to the vote, I was not surprised to see that people would take the words that were intentional misrepresentation of fact as true, Westheimer told the Hoot after learning of the results. Its not surprising that people would trust the Justice, WBRS and Archon in their misrepresentations because we would wish that they would be truthful. However, the attacks were so severe, BTV couldnt recover from them.

Chen told the Hoot that she expected this outcome because, most students were understanding of the entire situation.

They value the media that they trust, she said. I feel like most people that I know understand what went wrong during the entire process and think that what BTV was trying to propose was not clearly defined and not done in the appropriate way.

Westheimer said that one of the things that hurt BTV was that it could not talk openly about some of the things it is negotiating with the administration. BTV is working to obtain studio space and to be included in the proposed IPTV system that may replace the campus cable network next fall.

We couldnt talk in exact measurers and people criticized us for that, he said.

Westheimer told The Hoot that positive things came out of the amendment.

We were the first campaign that called everyone on campus and knocked on every door and that the total vote is the biggest in history, he said. It says something about BTV and how it reinvigorated the democratic process on campus. It says something about the amendment in getting so many people involved in the democratic process.

The results show despite the level of animosity towards BTV that was put out there by the opposition, the fact that we could still retain that many voters shows a real charge to the next administration of the Student Union and administration to take the charge of BTV seriously, Westheimer said.

Asked whether BTV would now abandon its quest to get a larger percentage of the Student Activities Fee, Westheimer told the Hoot the question was still up in the air.

We have not started to plan how we are going to deal with our funding shortage. Thats something we deal with in the next few weeks, he said.

Westheimer believes that the method BTV used to propose the amendment claiming an equal percentage from each of four Secured Organizations without informing them first was sound.

It may not have been the most politically correct, he said. We didnt want to gang up on anybody and for doing this we got ganged up on ourselves. BTV has a history in doing whats fair. Even though it hurt us this time, we will continue to be fair in the future.

Chen disagrees.

I think our biggest point was that even though the petition was done legally and they didnt have to inform us about it, media groups and clubs are supposed to work together to benefit the community, and we feel that the whole situation didnt benefit the entire community and created tension between groups, Chen said.

This should be avoided in the future. We should work together in the future to cooperate between groups and to always look as to what is best for the student body.

Justice Editor-in-Chief David Fudman 07 told the Hoot in an email, we were confident the student body would make the right choice through the democratic process. Were pleased with the results and relieved that we will be able to maintain and even increase our level of service to the community.

WBRS manager Jon Koplow 05 said that he hoped BTV had learned the necessity of working with other Secured Organizations when attempting to further their cause.

The Archon suit was not the first before the Union Judiciary, which also heard a request to delay voting which was filed by Village Senator David Fried 06. He alleged that BTVs amendment was invalid because BTV misrepresented how BEMCo and the Waltham Group would be affected by the amendment when BTV was obtaining signatures to get the amendment up for vote.

The amendment was meant to only take funding away from Archon, WBRS, Student Events and the Justice but also, erroneously took some away from Waltham Group and BEMCo. BTV attempted to compensate for this error by offering to amend their own constitution requiring them to give some money back to BEMCo and Waltham Group every year to compensate.

The UJ denied Frieds request for an injunction to delay the vote because in their opinion (found on page 7), Fried failed to show irreparable harm in holding the vote. The UJ scheduled a hearing on the matter following the vote. That case has also been withdrawn.

Amendment Tally

In favor 486
Against 1098
Abstain 76

A total of 1660 students voted.