At last night’s four-hour meeting, Associated Students Legislative Council passed resolutions to express their disapproval with the University of California’s use of student fees.
Last night’s debate was the continuation of several weeks of discussion on the matter of misuse of student fees, during which several resolutions — statements of support for protecting current student allocations and preventing further fee hikes — were delayed. Talks of the effects of budget cuts began early in the meeting as Internal Vice President Chris Wendle reported on the results of his most recent meeting with the UCSB Student Fee Advisory Committee.
Wendle said A.S. and the SFAC have been working to establish complete transparency of the UC’s budget and expenditures, systematically inspecting budget reports line-by-line to determine the path of the UC’s fiscal movements.
“In the past there hasn’t been transparency with the budget and in times like these, I think that’s really important,” Wendle said.
The UCSB SFAC, Wendle said, has also been examining budget impacts on many, perhaps all, of the 10 UC campuses in comparison with UCSB. The SFAC, Wendle noted, has concluded that UCSB has cut less from its budget so far in comparison with other UC campuses as a result of delays within UCSB’s administration.
“Supposedly UCSB’s administration is a little slow, and they’re still discussing what’s going to be cut and what is not,” Wendle said. “So, while we have felt some effects of the budget cuts, supposedly we haven’t seen anything yet.”
Council members finally passed a series of three resolutions — non-binding statements of a position — that have been on the table for several weeks. The first piece states that A.S. is in support of all non-union A.S. staffers disregarding furlough days. Asserting that staff fees for A.S. do not come from either the state or the University, the resolution declares that the University had no right to demand their furlough savings of $63,368.07.
Seconding the resolution, Representative-at-Large Jake Elwood cited the legislation’s text, declaring that it was unlawful for A.S. staffers to take furlough days according to the rules controlling student lock-in fees.
“This is a resolution to direct A.S. staff to disregard the University mandated furlough plan,” Elwood said. “Money generated by student lock-in fees can only be used for that which it was voted upon by students; any variation, challenge or change to these fees is a breach of contract and illegal.”
Logistical issues were raised by several council members, including Off-campus Representative Alex Onodera, who brought up an e-mail by one staff member who expressed concern as to whether staff would actually see the money return to their paychecks. Another council member asked where staff paychecks actually come from. A.S. Executive Director Marisela Marquez said that A.S. staff payroll funds are distributed from a payroll company, although control of the money is ultimately within A.S.’s control.
“We actually generate how much payroll is going to be every month and we pay them how much they will send to us,” Marquez said. “So they don’t control that money, we do. We have been instructed to hold back part of those fees, at least up until now, when you all decide what to do with these resolutions — because I don’t control that money, you do.”
Elwood introduced the second resolution, one to protect student lock-in fees. The session concluded with a resolution to support the memorandum of understanding,” authored by Off-campus Representative Jason Lopez, to denounce further fee increases by the University. These three resolutions together constitute the measures A.S. wishes to support in order to combat budget woes.
At the end of the meeting, council members passed all three resolutions.