Correction: The article incorrectly stated that CALPIRG hosted the Cal Grant Rally. It was in fact run by the Associated Students External Vice President of Statewide Affairs office. The Nexus regrets this error.
The Associated Students Legislative Council discussed a number of budget issues and possible actions to take on items ranging from staff furloughs to oil taxes during last night’s three and a half-hour meeting.
As UC budget concerns continue to grow, A.S. has introduced or supported a series of legislative efforts aimed to counter effects on campus, beginning with funding the “Save Exercise and Sport Studies Exercise-A-Thon.”
Off-campus Representative Elizabeth Farrington introduced the issue to the council by asking for $1,900 from the A.S. Legislative Council Special Projects funds in order to purchase more T-shirts for their rally at the Recreation Center on Nov. 20 from 12 to 3 p.m.
“We got funding for 1,000 shirts from finance board,” Farrington said. “So all I’m asking for from A.S. Special Projects is $1,900.”
The large majority of council members have voiced support for efforts to save ESS, but a few doubted the necessity of more than 1,000 T-shirts. On-campus Representative Joel Mandujano cited the 50 students who attended yesterday’s A.S. rally to save Cal Grants as an example of the campus’ low involvement in student actions.
“I fully support this, completely,” Mandujano said. “But I don’t know if you all have tried to organize a rally on campus before, because it’s really hard to get people to rallies.”
Alex Onodera, Off-campus Representative clarified that the T-shirts are to be purchased for publicity purposes, because they will advertise the date, place and time of the rally. Onodera said that the shirts will be handed out at week-long tabling events.
“They are 1,000 shirts that will be passed out throughout the week with the hope that students will wear them to the rally,” Onodera said.
Council members’ next objection came from the large percentage that $1,900 would take out of Special Projects’ $13,000 allotment for the entire year. Off-campus Representative Chloe Stryker defended the amount, basing her argument on the importance of the Save ESS effort.
“I just want to point out that this is one of the biggest projects that we’ll probably have all year,” Stryker said. “And I’ve heard that sometimes special projects don’t even get used until the last quarter.”
Approval of $1,900 to Save ESS was passed with a majority vote and council moved on to discuss A.S. staff furloughs.
A.S. staff at UCSB are paid from student lock-in fees funds, which encourages council members to create legislation that both protects the distribution and continuation of student lock-in fees. Specifically, A.S. staff want to ensure that student lock-in fees aren’t wasted when staff take mandatory furlough days.
A.S. Executive Director Dr. Marisela Marquez spoke on behalf of the Resolution to Protect Student Lock-In Fees, with regard to staff furloughs.
“When the Regents first declared furloughs, they excluded researchers and people who are paid out of restricted funds,” Marquez said. “So there are already staff and faculty excluded from the furlough plan. They just didn’t take up the issue of excluding student fee-paid staff.”
The resolution, Marquez said, would bring this dilemma to the attention of UC administrators and confront the problem presented by these student-funded positions that are required to undergo staff furloughs.
Current legislation did not include a section specifically denouncing the furlough issue, so council members decided to table the resolution until an ad-hoc group can further discuss its language, and passed the A.S. staff’s furlough plan for the time being.
In further support of California public education, a resolution authored by Representative-at-Large Daniel Gradias was passed to support a gas and oil severance task as proposed in Assembly Bill 656, which would give a percentage of the moneys to CCCs, CSUs and UCs.