Leave it to the Nexus to misrepresent the goings-on at Legislative Council and to contradict itself in its editorial (“Clowning Around,” May 3).
There is nothing vindictive about making up a $335,000 budget deficit. Rather, there is something wrong with the way Associated Students finances itself.
The million-dollar-plus capital reserve enjoyed 18 months ago is history. Where was the Nexus when the auditors reported that we lost $900,000 in investments and warned us to come up with a long-term strategy? Gone are the days when our investments produced tens of thousands of dollars to student group projects, events and organizations. Martin Doyle’s budget or not, last Wednesday night each of these accounts was going to get $0 and next year’s Finance Board was going to have $0 to dispense.
Our costs, like any campus department, keep going up.
Hard did we fight last week to preserve the already insufficient amount allocated to A.S.’s moneymaking side. Conscious were we of investing in technical support so that Program Board and KCSB will have working equipment. Not wanting were we to tax public goods like the BIKES system, the Bike Shop, the Legal Resource Center, the Notetaking Service, and the Cashiers & Ticket office.
We could not, however, avoid financial reality staring us in the face.
Short of a membership fee increase, there is little more to do than transfer money from one account to another. Nasty as it is, this is what happens in a budget based upon the redistribution, and not the creation, of new wealth. It was political, yes, but vindictive, no.
This is not Doyle’s fault – nor is it the Gauchoholics’. We have sought to sort out the financial mess and to craft an honest and fair solution.
Unfortunately, such a plan has fallen on deaf ears.
Too many people have a vested interest in the status quo. For example, when certain boards and committees such as the Student Commission on Racial Equality gets over $13,000 (regardless of their performance) and the Commission on Disability Access can barely scrap together $350, something is very wrong.
Internal “lock-ins” lock up fixed amounts of just over $1,000,000 a year – and lock out everyone else. The 20 internal boards and committees with lock-ins average about $50,000 a year, while the 25 without average a mean $4,000. I bet you can guess which category the newer and more innovative groups tend to fall in. This is the unintended consequence of financing where certain privileged groups, all whom have “lock-ins,” get to play by one set of rules and everyone else gets to scrap for the leftovers.
This is no way to run a government. No other UC campus’s A.S. pays for itself this way.
It is unfortunate that the Nexus has failed to report on such a dire financial status throughout the year. Buried in its editorial, however, are a few pearls of wisdom: “If student groups don’t wise up about fund-raising activities, then they’ll be dead in the water for the entire year.” This is very true, and it doesn’t just apply to next year. The day of reckoning for A.S is coming. Only by starving recipients of guaranteed funding will any change come about.
Associated Students has to change the way it does business. Asking the electorate to give us money is not a solution. This idea prevents A.S. from admitting the folly of our ways.
Nobody needs to hear this call more than the incoming officers and the Student Action Coalition. If they fail to understand this, then all of their campaign promises will amount to nothing. Too bad the only ones thus far who have such a plan are now officially, lame ducks.
Chris Hubbard is the outgoing A.S. controller.