It took about five hours, but the Gauchoholic Party concluded Wednesday night’s marathon Associated Students Legislative Council meeting with a victory and a 2002-2003 budget that cuts all funding to student groups, cuts A.S. honoraria and cuts the budget for next year’s executive officers.
Student voters did not pass an $8 per student quarter increase in the A.S. fund last week, leaving the organization in dire financial straits and needing to cut significantly from next year’s budget. But Student Action Coalition Party members on the Council protested the specific cuts, claiming they were made to commissions and groups because the Gauchoholics were still bitter over the huge SAC wins in last week’s elections.
Many members of the council had not had a chance to see the budget because Off-Campus Rep Martin Doyle, who introduced it, offered it as an amendment to A.S. President Brian Hampton’s budget.
SAC members threatened to walk out of the meeting in protest and tried 10 times to vote to put the vote off for a week. The Gauchoholics responded by taking out reading materials and vowing to stay until a budget was passed.
“I’m willing to sit here all night for this budget,” said Off-Campus Rep April Dunlap, who, like most other Gauchoholics, wanted the budget passed before they left.
Doyle’s budget slashed funding for many of the executive officers – which SAC members will hold next year – and eventually passed with a few small changes in a 13-9 vote.
He then sealed the budget with a planned parliamentary action, moving to reconsider the vote and then having fellow Gauchoholic Jonathan Kalinski move to indefinitely table the reconsideration. With many SAC members already leaving the room, Kalinski’s motion passed, ensuring that the budget cannot be reconsidered unless Kalinski moves to do so.
The approved budget made deep cuts in the offices of the external vice presidents. Both the current and elected external vice president for statewide affairs (EVPSA) were on hand to plead for more money, and EVPSA-elect Isabel Millan participated as a voting member of the council. Doyle’s budget called for $300 for the EVPSA but after several hours of argument the council approved $1,200.
“If UCSB is not represented at congress it is detrimental to UCSB and UCSA as a whole.” said Eneri Rodriguez, who currently holds the office.
“You’re pretty much running the EVPSA into the ground,” she added, “and if that’s what you want to do, then fine.”
SAC members also took issue with the $17,393 Doyle’s budget allocated to a tech support fund. The amount was nearly twice what A.S. Finance Board recommended in its budget proposal and three times what A.S. President Brian Hampton called for in his budget.
“This is way too much for computers considering we’re already in a budget crunch,” Rep-at-Large Manuel Silva said. “I think we all need to think about our motives in this situation.”
Throughout the meeting, Leggies voted to move $200 into A.S. Finance Board’s unallocated fund, but then voted that $200 into capital reserves and finally into the EVPSA’s budget.
“This is an unorthodox method of making a budget,” Silva said when he argued against putting more money into capital reserves. “Losing an election is not a valid reason.”
Doyle said funding for boards and committees would be meager anyway because the base fee failed. The money in the president’s budget was not enough for these commissions to use, Doyle said, and would be better used in a long-term project like tech support.
The women’s journal Herstory, for example, received $3,465 last year, but Hampton only recommended allocating $150 this year. In the final approved budget, the magazine received nothing.