Following a six-month deliberation period, an agreement has been made to regarding the proposal to tax services supported by student lock-in fees.
The non-state funded administrative support tax has been set at one percent for the past 25 years, but earlier this year a plan was suggested to quadruple it. With the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding tomorrow, however, the university will agree to prohibit increasing the tax on programs students voted to support via lock-in fees unless it is put up for a student vote.
The memorandum, a response to the UCSB Coordinating Committee on Budget Strategy’s tax proposal, will protect a variety of campus entities including the Student Resource Building, the Daily Nexus, the Recreation Center, Student Health, Associated Students and Housing and Residential Services.
According to former A.S. President J.P. Primeau, the MOU was formulated to ensure that student decisions are upheld in the future.
“We wanted to create a long-term agreement, a memorandum of understanding, between the students and the university to protect student referenda dollars from any additional non-state funded administrative support taxes,” Primeau said. “From now on, any new taxes to be incurred on student services must be included in the ballot for students to decide on.”
The idea to employ a uniform tax increase on these services was developed earlier this year to compensate for the $16 million budget cuts facing the campus. After the MOU is finalized, the campus will have to find some way to rectify the loss of potential revenue.
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Michael Young said an assessment on programs that students elected to support via referenda dollars should never have been considered.
“The numbers are not relevant,” Young said. “The referenda dollars represent a self-imposed tax by students. In my mind, that’s like double taxing. And it was proposed without student input.”
According to Academic Senate Chair Joel Michaelson, the money accumulated from the taxes pay for the overhead expenses taken on by the administration to facilitate the programs.
“The basic idea is that services, however they are funded, need to pay for their costs,” Michaelson said. “The assessments are formulated to cover those costs such as human resources and accounting.”
Despite his support of the MOU, Michaelson said the plan to tax lock-in fees was no more unreasonable than any other means taken on to offset the budget deficit.
“I don’t think any of this is fair,” Michaelson said. “And I think that the referenda tax was just as fair as any of the other cuts proposed.”
However, Graduate Student Association President Amber Gonzalez said the administration failed to protect the sanctity of the student voting power.
“They weren’t really understanding the principle behind student decisions,” Gonzalez said. “They just saw it as another pot of money to draw from.”
Assistant Chancellor of the Office of Budget and Planning Todd Lee said the University of California will face a $408 million cut during the next school year – and UCSB will be responsible for a sizeable chunk.
“We will be dealing with a deficit far larger than $16 million next year,” Lee said. “The committee’s work is not over and we will have to cope with the cuts as they come.”
Very misleadingThe headline for this article is very misleading. The university did not seek to protect the student programs with this MOU. The MOU was proposed by students as a means of blocking any future attacks on student referenda. This is the result of months of planning, organizing and action by members of the Don’t Cut Us Out! Coalition and Associated Students. The university (Joel Michaelsen, Gene Lucas…etc) were resistant to this, until student pressure by means of a rally and negotiation sessions, swayed them. I wish the article would have covered the activism that catalyzed the drafting of this… Read more »