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Minutes before the Associated Students Legislative Council meeting was set to end, members of Don’t Cut Us Out – a coalition of students fighting the administrative tax on non-state funded entities – stormed in with news about the tax during last night’s prolonged eight-hour meeting.
According to member Lindsay Quock, the tax is actually divided into two parts: a tax on entities funded by student lock-in fees and a tax on income. Quock said DCUO was seeking support for all departments to withhold payment this Friday.
“None of us have ever seen the tax as two separate things,” Quock said. “If any of this tax is paid on Friday, we’ve compromised a large part of our goal. … We’re really concerned about what we have to do to stop the payment of the tax. What we want is for Leg Council to somehow make sure that the tax isn’t paid by Friday.”
A.S. President J.P. Primeau, on the other hand, said the group is making a big deal out of a trivial issue.
“The assistant chancellor agreed to suspend the tax until we establish a Memorandum of Understanding to work out these issues,” Primeau said. “We have to work to fight for the sanctity of student fees. … You simply can’t take student money that students voted to go somewhere and have it go back to the university instead.”
Primeau said the fight against the tax will be much more effective if the efforts focus solely on the services taxed that are supported by student money.
“If we try to say we can’t tax those auxiliary services, it muddles our argument,” Primeau said. “There was really no ground in our fight to argue this. The student fees money needs to be held in a different regard. … I think we have a lot more ground if we focus on campus-based student fees.”
The council also deliberated on a bill that aims to increase accountability and transparency.
Council members discussed altering current A.S. policies regarding minutes, meetings and financial allocations to open them to the public.
According to Take Back the Night Co-chair Christina Baggao, A.S. Boards, Commissions and Committees were not notified about this bill, which has the power to potentially change the structure of their organizations.
“It isn’t fair that we weren’t consulted in this,” Baggao said. “I would like a dialogue opened, because right now this is the only problem I have with the bill, the fact that it hasn’t been discussed.”
The council decided to table the bill for the following week.