Auditors for Associated Students presented their findings of the A.S. Audit report at Wednesday night’s Legislative Council meeting and warned that A.S. was overspending their resources.
Accountants from Nasif, Hicks, Harris & Co., the accounting firm that handled A.S.’s audit, presented their finding and said that A.S. should be looking to cut spending for the upcoming year or should find other ways of generating revenue.
“In the years when the stock market was making a lot of money, it created a lot of extra revenue that they could spend. Now that that’s no longer there, they’re going to have adjust their spending down to live on a lot less investment income,” said Jeff Harris, an accountant from Nasif, Hicks, Harris & Co. “The spend of the organization is exceeding the resources and that’s something [A.S.] need[s] to change.”
When A.S. previously met with the accounting firm, it had hoped the base fee increase measure on last fall’s Special Election would pass, Harris said.
Harris said A.S. suffered a loss of approximately $800,000 in investments last year, the majority of which were in mutual funds. The losses, however, are not uncommon in the current economy, Harris said.
“Almost every non-profit organization in Santa Barbara has had similar losses,” Harris said. “A.S. made a lot of money in the stock market all through the 1990s, and like everybody else, it has given some of that back. So really the money that’s lost, I don’t think any of it was the original money that was invested. I think it was all of their gains over the years.”
Harris also warned Legislative Council to be wary of campaigning or endorsing in public elections. A.S. has a non-profit organization tax status and is not allowed do any campaigning or endorsing in public elections. If any wrongdoing occurs and is reported to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), A.S. could lose its non-profit organization tax status and could be subject to an audit from the IRS.
“My guess is that the IRS has better things to do than come after a student organization, but that’s something you have to be careful of,” Harris said.
A.S. Investments Advisory Committee has not yet met for this year, but Investments Advisory Committee Chair Todd Roberson has met with Executive Director Don Daves Rougeaux and A.S. President Chrystine Lawson to discuss A.S.’s finances.
“I couldn’t get exact numbers because we haven’t been able to talk to our broker,” Roberson said at last week’s Legislative Council meeting.
A.S.’s current investments are “probably doing just fine” as of October 2002, Harris said.
Legislative Council also addressed the possible changes to the General Education requirements at UCSB. The General Education Task Force recommended its report that a non-western civilization course should not be a G.E. requirement at UCSB. Representative-At-Large Ginger Gonzaga introduced a resolution to express A.S.’s opposition and disapproval of the Academic Senate’s actions and to pending vote to possibly change the G.E. requirements.
Discussion of the resolution mainly revolved around whether Academic Senate met quorum when it voted to put the decision about possible changes to the G.E. requirements up to a vote by UCSB faculty. During the meeting, Gonzaga amended the resolution and removed sections of the resolution because of uncertainty regarding Academic Senate’s by-laws on quorum.
“It’s really sad to see that students have to fight for stuff like this,” Representative-At-Large Fernando Ramirez said, referring to the General Education Task Forces’ recommendation.
The resolution passed by a vote of 21 to 0, with no members of Leg Council abstaining.
In older business, a bill to amend the A.S. Program Board Code was tabled for a third week straight. The bill was tabled by its author, Off-Campus Representative Eva von Thury, due to typos in the latest revision.
A 2002/2003 University of California Students Association budget was also tabled pending further revision, and an announcement was made that Spring Quarter elections would be held online.