Associated Students Legislative Council held their final full-session meeting of the year last night, focusing on last-minute bills and discussing the association’s stance on the recent UC Office of the President tax.
A frequent topic of conversation at recent meetings, the UCOP tax was implemented at the beginning of the 2011-2012 academic year as a new method of distributing campus-based revenue throughout the UC system. Before the tax, each campus contributed its revenue to be redistributed across the 10-campus system; as of this year, all campuses now pay 1.6 percent of the revenue they generate to the UCOP.
Many council members expressed confusion over Chancellor Henry Yang’s statement regarding the change, in which he discouraged taxation of student fees while also claiming the UCOP tax does not target students’ wallets. However, the new funding model imposes roughly $100,000 in taxes on A.S., which receives more than $2,700,000 in student fees every quarter.
A.S. Executive Director Marisela Marquez sought the council’s advice about the fee, asking the board for further guidance regarding the Chancellor’s unclear resolution.
“In the memo it says that no student fees will be used to pay the UCOP tax [and] this presents a complication for me [because] in A.S. all of our funds are student fees,” Marquez said. “The issue is that if we don’t pay our amount, which is around a $100,000 contribution to UCOP, then the Division of Student Affairs would have to pay for it. … The memo in the back says we cannot use student fees, so what would we pay it with? How would we compensate the Division of Student Affairs?”
According to Marquez, A.S. President Harrison Weber is adamant that the association refrain from paying the fee.
Marquez also revealed that A.S. has failed to file for taxes as a nonprofit organization for the last 12 years due to a miscommunication within the group.
“For 12 years this association has not filed the required annual report for nonprofits. You need to file a 990; the 990 for this association has not been filed since 2000,” Marquez said. “When A.S. was created and given the nonprofit tax ID number, we held one together with the UCen. When we separated from the UCen, each of us would provide our own balance sheets. … The UCen was approached by the university saying that they would file taxes together with the university; we assumed that it would include A.S.”
With the academic year coming to a close, council members also piled up bills and resolutions in last-ditch efforts to affect lasting change. Many proposals involved restructuring current committees and boards, from the A.S. Investment Advisory Committee to the Womyn’s Commission and the association’s Internal Climate Coordinator position.
Most of these bills were tabled to for further discussion and will be voted on during next week’s meeting.
The majority of members also condemned North Carolina’s ban on same-sex marriage, enacted in the midst of the campus’s annual Pride Week festivities. Though some council members advocated for a specific call to action instead of a position paper, the bill did pass with consent.
Off-campus representative and newly elected Internal Vice President Mayra Segovia supported the bill but pushed for more legislative council participation in the national debate.
“I wish there [were] something else that we were doing. It’s great that we’re taking a stance but what are we doing to make a difference?” Segovia said. “As much as I’m with this, I wish that there [were] something more than just legislative council condemning these actions.”
The board’s last meeting of the year, next Wednesday at 5 p.m. in the UCen’s Flying A room, will focus on addressing the board’s unresolved old business items and swearing in next year’s council members.