A.S. Council approved both a University Centers referendum to increase student fees as well as a referendum to reinstate funding to college councils at their Feb. 27 meeting.
If passed by a majority of students, the UCEN referendum would increase student fees by $11 with a yearly CPI adjustment of up to 3 percent. The referendum specifies that portions of the funding will be used for maintenance and repair of Price Center and Student Center, in addition to raising funds that would help reopen the Crafts Center.
If the referendum’s language is approved by the UC Office of the President this week, students will be able to vote on the measure as part of the spring election — set to take place Week 2 of next quarter.
A.S. Council approved the referendum after several rounds of amendments between A.S. Council, UCOP and the Graduate Student Administration. The referendum is now awaiting approval from UCOP following one last change by GSA.
At the Feb. 27 council meeting, University Centers Advisory Board chair Albert Trujillo declared that it would be deeply disappointing if the referendum did not make it onto the spring ballot.
A second referendum will increase the Associated Students Campus Activity Fee by $1 per quarter in order to guarantee funding to college councils. A.S. Council is bound by a 1988 referendum to allocate money to the councils, but halted this funding in 2006 due to growing budgetary concerns. The fee increase will allow A.S. Council to restore funding to the college councils, despite A.S. Council’s own deficit.
Associate Vice President College Affairs Leonard Bobbitt explained the necessity of the fee increase in a Feb. 26 email.
“It isn’t the college council funding that is in jeopardy if the referendum doesn’t go through — so it seems disingenuous to bill it that way,” Bobbitt wrote. “If we are indeed obligated to fund the college councils, then it is A.S. services, activities, etc. that are in jeopardy.”
If the referendum is passed, $0.65 per student per quarter will go to the councils to coordinate intercollegiate activities. Another 29 percent of the fee will go to financial need scholarships for undergraduates. Associate Vice President Student Advocacy Courtney Hill and other council members objected to a proposed second fee increase after the UCAB referendum.
“I am personally uncomfortable with raising student fees twice in one year,” Hill said.
But Eleanor Roosevelt College Senator Travis Miller reminded the council that the initial decision to halt funding created tension between A.S. Council and the college councils.
“If this referendum doesn’t pull through, what are we going to tell the six college councils?” Miller said. “This is money that is owed to the college councils, and we need to pay them back.”