While Associated Students moves forward to challenge claims of $750 in property damages from a weekend retreat, the A.S. administration said it is still continuing its investigation into allegations of improper conduct at the January Legislative Council event.
The council decided to pursue a small claims case challenging $750 of the $1,030.80 in damages alleged by Morrocco Method International, the property owners of Villa Antonio, at last Wednesday’s meeting. Additionally, the council directed staff to pay MMI a total of $372.80 in bed tax charges — $169.40 for a Sept. 13-15 retreat and the remaining $203.50 stemming from the Jan. 8-10 event. As the council moves to legally contest the charges against them in court, the internal investigation A.S. has been conducting for over a month continues.
In response to inquiries regarding the A.S. investigation into the allegations of property damage and drinking on the student-fee funded retreat, A.S. attorney Robin Unander said the process is ongoing.
“[A.S. is] still working on the investigations (damage and alcohol claims), still considering the best approach for resolution, still weighing options,” Unander wrote in an e-mail. “[I] will let you know when we know more about how this will conclude.”
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Michael Young said he has been in discussion with A.S., but has not received a final report.
“I anticipate they will make a series of what I call self-determined corrections so that they would generate their own corrective responses,” Young said. “I would imagine that they might talk about what kinds of appropriate actions should be taken [and] what actions they have already taken. And then I will receive all that and make a knowledgeable decision.”
MMI has informed A.S. that they will not be refunding the $1,000 security deposit and that they are seeking an additional $30.80 to cover the alleged damages. In response to $750 of the damages, A.S. Legislative Council directed staff to file a claim, which costs $30 in San Luis Obispo County small claims court for cases under $1,500 and will take at least 45 days.
Food, lodging, bed tax and cleaning fees for the Jan. 8-10 A.S. Legislative Council retreat tallied $3,894.94, although the university has yet to bill A.S. for transportation. The Sept. 13-15 retreat’s lodging, cleaning fees and bed tax amounted to $1,709.40, not including costs for food and transportation. The security deposit for the Sept. 13-15 retreat at Villa Antonio was refunded in full.
The Legislative Council retreats, including the uncontested $280.80 in damages, were funded by student lock-in fees. In response to allegations of misuse of fees, several UCSB students started a Facebook group “Hold Associated Students accountable for their actions!!!” The group had 2,000 members as of press time.
A.S. Legislative Council is made up of 25 elected student representatives and serves as Associated Students’ policymaking body. Meetings are held every Wednesday at 5 p.m. in the UCen State Street Room.