The MultiCultural Center and the Women’s Center have collected enough student signatures to put separate lock-in fees on the Spring ballot, but the Women’s Center is still trying to reach its 3,000-signature goal.
Both groups had until Feb. 5 to collect signatures from 15 percent of the student population for separate $1.75 per quarter lock-in fees – a student registration fee automatically paid every quarter – that would go into affect Fall 2002 and support each center’s current operations.
MCC Director Zaveeni Khan-Marcus said MCC petitioners had collected nearly 3,000 signatures, more than the 2,600 minimum that was required. The Women’s Center has collected approximately 2,800 signatures, but wants to collect more to account for students who might have put down an invalid perm number.
The MCC and the Women’s Center are among several student service organizations that had anticipated a budget cut of up to 15 percent by next fall, which was expected to come from the California state government as a result of economic instability. The UC no longer anticipates cuts of that magnitude, but has not ruled out the possibility of cutbacks.
“The discussion of 15 percent cuts began a few months ago, when the governor asked all state agencies, including UC, to begin planning for the possibility of budget cuts of as much as 15 percent,” UC spokesperson Brad Hayward said.
“It’s possible that some limited program cutbacks would be necessary if the university did not receive state funding in lieu of revenue from a fee increase next year,” Hayward said. “Our goal right now is to convince the state that the funding should be provided, so that we won’t have a fee increase and won’t have program cutbacks. We will be making that case over the course of the spring in Sacramento.”
If the MCC experiences any type of budget cuts this fall, it will be forced to limit the number of programs or events it sponsors, MCC Associate Director Viviana Marsano said. A lock-in or support fee paid by students each quarter would serve as an extra source of funding.
“It’s important that we receive the funds in order to keep the center functioning,” Marsano said. “We’re asking for $1.75 because it is a reasonable amount, but still something that would help a great deal.”
The MCC’s programs have expanded from its original intent to be a safe place for students of color to include international students as well as gay, lesbian and bisexual students. The MCC sponsors numerous events each year to confront issues of discrimination and oppression such as lectures, dramatic performances, panel discussions, and films and videos.
Marsano believes the center and its programs are needed now more than ever.
“With what is currently going on in the world, it is necessary to encourage communication between students of different cultures,” she said. “After Sept. 11, our mission has become more and more important. Our goal is to have more events that bring people of different cultures together.”
The Women’s Center also provides several programs and services that could be affected by large budget cuts. The center is working on restructuring their budget.
“We have already had to cut funding used to co-sponsor student groups and events on campus,” Women’s Center Director Deidre Acker said
Women’s Center employees are worried about the possible loss of money – a 15 percent cut of Women’s Center funding would be equal to about $40,000 – because of their already limited funding, which comes from the university. Operating hours and student employment opportunities would also be limited.
“We’re one of the smaller student service offices. We don’t really have a budget to begin with,” student staff member Tosha Traylor said.
The Women’s Center offers such services as rape counseling, student coffee hours and discussions, and workshops focusing on the center’s goals.
“The Women’s Center is a student service,” Acker said. “Asking for the support fee is not only because of the cuts, it is so we can better benefit the students.”