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Posts Tagged ‘Sun God Festival’

The Decay of SunGod

In Higher Education, Investigative Reporting on May 14, 2012 at 6:39 pm

A Tale of Privilege, Patronage, and Prejudice

Alec Weisman, California Review Editor-in-Chief Emeritus ‘08-‘11

The Sun God Festival is the highlight of most UCSD students’ college careers. It is a time to let loose, have fun, and de-stress from the rigors of the quarter system. Yet it is also a time for the UCSD Associated Students (AS) to take credit for an event that has been progressively declining since at least 2008. The Sun God Festival is also the time of the year that reveals the intricacies of student government and shows the full extent of the perks that they receive.

After 2007, the Sun God Festival went from a campus wide de-stress celebration to a caged and heavily policed event isolated at RIMAC. Prior to the caging, the UCSD AS spent $200,000 on the Sun God festival. After the restrictions, the AS spent $550,000 on the event. Students now pay around $15 in student fees for the Sun God festival even as they receive a smaller return on their investment, with the money being used less efficiently. Some exceptionally poor decisions by the AS have included their erection of a fence around the dance tent and their inane purchase of a giant inflatable Sun God that cost $5,000-$6,000.

In addition, Daniel Watts, a former candidate for AS President in 2005, discovered that AS had a private Sun God guest list for former AS members as recently as 2011. According to a public records request, this guest list composed several former AS members, celebrities, University affiliates, and sponsors.

According to Oliver Zhang, the AS Associate Vice President of Concerts & Events (ASCE) responsible for the 2012 Sun God Festival, a guest list is industry standard and is “consistent for all ASCE shows throughout the year.” Although the Sun God guest list has included more than 500 people since 2007, Zhang explained that the 2011-2012 AS worked “to keep the guest list as modest as possible” in order to “make our events as accessible to students as possible.”

This is not the only privilege that AS has given itself. The UCSD AS pays themselves more than $100,800 in stipends for AS cabinet members and office staff. These stipends have more than doubled since 2006-2007, when AS Cabinet and AS Office stipends were only $47,250.

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