The Associated Students Legislative Council approved the 2005-06 overall student government’s budget at its meeting Wednesday night, with little opposition from council members or the public.
The council approved the budget after A.S. President Cervin Morris presented council members with several funding increases to the A.S. Media Relations committee and Leg Council, as well as a funding cut to the A.S. Queer Commission. Morris’ budget proposal also increased A.S. staff salaries and decreased the funding for the Committee on Committees.
The council also approved the University of California Student Association (UCSA) budget, which added a 25-cent per student increase in membership dues, said Felicia Cruz, external vice president of statewide affairs. UCSA is the UC-wide organization that represents all students in the University, but its finances are used independently of A.S. approval.
Despite Finance Board’s initial recommendation of $300 for the Media Relations committee, Morris said he thought A.S. needed more advertising and he decided to increase the group’s allocation to $1,000.
“It’s important for us to advertise for A.S. — especially now with the elections coming up, so students can get involved,” Morris said.
Morris also increased the funding allocations for Leg Council from $8,000 to $9,000. The additional funding, he said, would allow the council’s members to be more productive and would permit A.S. to better fund activities such as the Leg Council retreat.
“I’d like to see Leg Council have more money to go on a retreat for one and also to do more things and group projects,” Morris said.
The A.S. Queer Commission saw its funding for next year cut in half, from $1,200 to $600. Morris said he had decided to cut the commission’s funding because he did not think the group was active enough to warrant such a large allocation of money.
“I’m not giving money to a group that doesn’t have minutes for its meetings and especially if we don’t know they have meetings,” Morris said.
Off-Campus Rep Adam Graff agreed with Morris and said he also felt Queer Commission did not do enough to deserve the money it currently receives.
“I think they held one official meeting this whole year,” Graff said. “We have no idea what they actually did. Finance Board was going to give them the third highest allocation.”
Morris also increased the A.S. staff salaries to $478,319, which had originally been allocated $443,319, and decreased Finance Board’s allocation of $200 to the Committee on Committees to $50. He also lowered the funds allocated to the State Affairs Org. Director from $2,000 to $1,125.
Cruz said UCSB students would be seeing a fee increase of 25 cents per year, to continue to fund UCSB’s position as a speaking member of the UCSA. She said the membership fee increase was necessary if UCSB wanted to meet the UCSA requirement that each speaking member collect $1.20 per year from each student.
“This year the dues are being raised by 25 cents per student a year,” Cruz said. “It’s important because there are already four or five UCs that will have to raise fees to make the $1.20 [per student] UCSA fee.”
Cruz said that students currently pay 35 cents a quarter and that she thinks UCSA would decide that the 25-cent increase at UCSB satisfied the association’s referendum.
“We’ve been looking at this budget for the last two meetings and this is what we’ve accepted,” Cruz said. “If our referendum for UCSA doesn’t happen we have two things we can do. One, go to Finance Board for more money or, two, be a non-speaking member of UCSA.”
If UCSB were to fail to satisfy UCSA membership requirements, Cruz said they would be allowed continuing membership within UCSA, but could not vote at UCSA meetings. While UCSB could ask for an extension on satisfying UCSA requirements, Cruz said she was confident that the referendum would be accepted.
“Personally, I’m not all that concerned,” Cruz said.