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Two referenda to appear on ballot

Two referenda will be on the ballot this spring, requesting funding for both Category 5 and Distraction magazine, according to SG Press Secretary Mike Piacentino.

Each group had to gather 500 signatures before the question to raise the student activity fee could be brought before the student body. The minimal increases multiplied by nearly 10,000 undergraduate students could account for a large portion of funding.

Category 5’s referendum requests a 75-cent increase to the fee per semester. This would fund more pep rallies, events and prizes, Category 5 Vice Chair Javier Hernandez said. Hurricane Force and the annual away trip to a football game would also be funded by the increase, Category 5 Special Events Chair Doug Aguililla said.

Category 5 is the spirit programming committee that works as a branch of SG. It organizes Hurricane Force, the official student group for Miami athletics, to increase awareness and spirit at sporting events.

“Last year Category 5 had a very successful year,” Aguililla said. “We had an away trip to Ohio State, we had our first night pep rallies and we launched Hurricane Force.”

These programs left Category 5 with a significant deficit in its budget, said Aguililla, who also said the funding will help make away trips as affordable as possible for students.

“Being able to continue to put on these sorts of programs we feel is an important part of what we do as an organization, as well as insuring that Hurricane Force can remain an effective organization,” he said.

Both Hernandez and Aguililla, the sponsors of the referendum, were not able to attend the mandatory candidates and referenda meeting last Wednesday night, Aguililla said.

However, attendance at the meeting is one of three requirements for referenda to be approved and placed on the ballot, according to Piacentino.

“We did have a Category 5 representative there, and we have spoken with SG advisor Brian Orefice,” Aguililla said. “He has told us that we have sufficiently satisfied the referenda requirements.”

Distraction magazine, which tried but failed last year to get its referendum passed, is once again seeking student approval for an increase to the student activity fee.

The $1 increase per semester will mainly help Distraction with printing costs, Executive Editor Ashley Brozic said. She and Editor-in-Chief Jonathan Borge sponsored the referendum.

“With this funding we can assure that every student has access to a copy, without ever having to open their wallets,” Brozic said.

Distraction’s referendum was shot down by a small margin in 2011 because many students selected the “don’t care” or “no opinion” options, which count as a “no,” according to Brozic.

“The reason we struggled, I feel, is because there’s a large percentage of students who don’t read Distraction or know that it exists,” Brozic said. “Once they do though, they end up loving it.”

February 12, 2012

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Lyssa Goldberg

Lyssa Goldberg is online editor of The Miami Hurricane. She is a senior majoring in journalism and political science with a minor in math. She has interned at Mashable and the Miami New Times, and her work has also been featured in The Huffington Post.


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