Associated Students held an impromptu Legislative Council meeting on Sunday to discuss fighting the rising tax increases on services paid by student lock-in fees.
All non-state funded administrative support programs – such as A.S. – are subject to a percent-based tax on outside income they receive. Currently, the campus generates an estimated $950,000 annually from this tax, which is used to pay off some of the debt incurred by the Student Affairs and Administrative Services Building and for “information systems enhancement that benefit the entire campus.”
According to A.S. President J.P. Primeau, the bill A.S. has to pay the school by Feb. 28 has grown due to the administration’s last minute decision to increase the tax on NSFAS. As of the Legislative Council meeting last Wednesday, A.S. was required to come up with almost $80,000 by the end of the month; at the time of the special Sunday meeting, the sum A.S. owes the university is $119,396.
At the meeting, the council drafted a formal letter to Chancellor Yang, Executive Vice Chancellor Gene Lucas and Todd Lee, Assistant Chancellor of the Office of Budget and Planning, requesting their presence at this Wednesday’s Legislative Council.
Primeau said the ultimate goal of A.S. is to end the tax on student fees, and A.S. will question the administration to find any gaps in the plan. Really, he said, Wednesday’s face-off with the administration is to further public knowledge about the issue at stake.
“We’re not going to negotiate with them on Wednesday,” Primeau said. “We want them to publicly explain, for the Nexus and the record, why and what they are doing.”
Additionally, the council agreed on the idea to hold a campus strike on the Feb. 25, barring successful negotiations with university administrators in the future.
Meanwhile, at last night’s A.S. Finance Board meeting, the board dispersed $24,679.21 among 11 student organizations.
Alpha Tau Omega returned this week to seek funding for their annual All Sorority Volleyball Tournament.
ASVT Committee Chair Darin Bernstein, a third-year environmental studies major, said the tournament has become incredibly popular.
“I just want to reemphasize how much this event has grown,” Bernstein said. “A lot of people look forward to this. … It will be holding 4,000 plus UCSB students this year.”
According to Primeau, the student body supports its money going to ASVT.
“There are likely 4,000 people that will attend this event,” Primeau said. “Of that 4,000, 3,000 are looking forward to this event more than any other event of the year. I would stake my reputation that those 3,000 – from the $133 odd dollars that they pay – would want $5 of that money to go to this event. That comes out to $15,000.”
Board Member Hassan Naveed, on the other hand, said it did not matter how many students would be in attendance, allocating more than $10,000 to the event is financially reckless.
“It’s important that we do stand by students’ money by any means to protect it,” Naveed said. “We need to stick with the $10,000 max we discussed. I do feel that that’s more fiscally responsible.”
The request was tabled for another week.
Real Life – a Christian fellowship organization – received $1,334 for their next 12 weekly meetings, each of which will feature a worship band and guest speaker.
Board Member Darshan Grover said the board was not allowed to fund an organization’s weekly meetings.
“I don’t care how many members they have,” Grover said. “It is not within our constitution to fund weekly meetings. I’m trying to be non-biased; this has nothing to do with religion, sex or gender.”
However, member Jackie Lee said the meetings are not the typical meetings the board usually avoids funding.
“This is kind of different,” Lee said. “[Real Life] mentioned they have a band come in every week, so the meetings are kind of like mini-events.”