Students lined up outside the door Wednesday night to speak to Associated Students Legislative Council on behalf of its campus organizations.
The groups spoke against Off-Campus Representative Josh Baker’s bill to hold student organizations accountable for their lock-in fees. Lock-ins, which are approved by students and added to tuition costs, are distributed by A.S to the student groups. At the end of the year, groups without special trustee accounts return their unused money to an A.S. fund. Of the 25 campus groups with lock-ins, only eight have trustee accounts, Baker said.
Baker, who claimed the trustee accounts made the student groups unaccountable because they could accumulate large sums without the knowledge of A.S., proposed that five of the eight groups suspend putting money into their accounts.
“That way,” he said, “they are accountable for the money they save. If they want to save for a big project, fine. As long as we know about it.”
Approximately 35 people lined up to speak against the bill in the council’s public comment period. Educational Opportunities Program Advisor Ana Rizo, whose group was among those on the bill’s list, said the proposal would cut wages for students working as advisers and force them to seek better-paying employment.
“I know the board thinks ‘who cares, you don’t do this for pay;’ but love for my sisters and brothers during college is not going to get my phone bill paid,” she said. “A lot of people may be able to volunteer whenever they want, but keep in mind there are a lot of students here who are not affluent or even middle class.”
Ariana Katovich, a co-founder of the Shoreline Preservation Fund, said when SPF campaigned for a lock-in fee, A.S. questioned how money would be spent. Katovich emphasized the definition of a lock-in fee as a fee that is “locked-in” based on student votes before throwing the question back to A.S.
“How will you make sure that the $3 per student per quarter is spent on what the students voted on? I don’t think it’s the smartest thing for A.S. students to blow through all this money and then when there’s a two-year project, not have that money,” she said.
Katovich and SPF member Phil Tseng stayed until the bill came to the floor. Katovich argued that A.S. wanted the money back to help ease financial trouble after the base-fee increase failed in the Spring Elections, but that this was not what students wanted.
“[SPF’s] money is not here to bail you out,” she said. “That’s not what the students want. That’s not what they voted for. I’m sorry you lost the base fee. But you should have planned for that.”
Tseng added that the trustee account is vital to Shoreline’s operations and said the group needs to save money to fund larger programs. Because the SPF only gives grant money and does not spend the money itself, Tseng and Katovich said they wait until requests come in, and that those requests can be large.
“Our trustee account is not a privilege,” Tseng said. “It is a necessity.”
Following mandatory procedure, the bill was tabled until next week.