This weekend members of ASUCD presented their proposed budgets for the 2009-2010 school year for the senate’s consideration.
Hearings of the budget occurred throughout Friday, Saturday and Sunday on campus. The hearings are required to take place every year in order to allow ASUCD senators an opportunity to examine and modify the budgets of all units, such as UNITRANS, the Bike Barn or Pathfinder.
The final budget will be voted on at Thursday’s senate meeting at 6:10 p.m. in the Mee Room of the Memorial Union. The following are highlights from the weekend’s hearings, compiled by Aggie campus reporters.
The day’s hearing began with brief discussions on the Bike Barn and the Coffee House, both of whose budgets were passed. Later in the day, The California Aggie’s budget was also passed.
In a discussion about Unitrans, representatives said that although the unit will be adding on 14 new buses, remodeling the MU bus terminal, adding a GPS system to the buses and using more buses for a U-Dash service, their budget will not change dramatically. The Unitrans budget was then passed.
The senate then moved onto a discussion regarding Lobby Corps, and suggested amending the budget to lower the pay rate of several members, however both amendments failed and the budget was passed.
Regarding the Entertainment Council, the budget proposed an increase in funding for more on-campus entertainment, as well as a co-sponsorship of the annual “Buzz“ event. The unit’s budget was tabled for later discussion.
“Entertainment is a huge thing in Davis, considering there isn’t much downtown, so I think the budget for them should be increased,” said Senator Danny Garrett. “It is one of the most universal services we can be providing.“
A discussion about AS Papers began, but was tabled to be discussed on Sunday.
The hearings began at approximately 9 a.m. with the president’s budget. Though there was some debate over whether President Chatham needs both an assistant to the president and a chief of staff, no modifications were made and the budget was confirmed.
The vice president’s budget was also passed, in addition to AgTV’s budget. AgTV’s proposed budget was increased to accommodate for more programmers and other costs. Advocates argued that the unit provides journalism experience for those who cannot study broadcast journalism.
The budget for the Experimental College was amended to lower the gardener’s pay from $250 to $182, and to lower the funds for publicity from $2,500 to $1,500. The budget was then passed.
An amendment was also proposed and passed to decrease funding for the Post Office telephone equipment from $550 to $500.
One of the more controversial items on the ASUCD budget was its outreach unit, Pathfinder, which seeks to promote diversity on campus by providing tutoring and mentoring to K-12 students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Discussion on whether to keep Pathfinder, which makes up $10,000 of the ASUCD budget, occupied the hearings for over 2 hours.
Senators in favor of closing Pathfinder argued that while it was a good program in theory, its model was flawed beyond repair and that outreach could be better conducted by other campus units like the Student Recruitment and Retention Center.
“Outreach is obviously very important,” said Senator Trevor Taylor. “However, I don’t think it would be more beneficial to lobby the administration to do more [outreach] … it shouldn’t be put on the backs of students.“
The budget was passed after further debates with an 11-1 majority.
The budgets for the Campus Center for the Environment, Classical Notes/Campus Copies, The Aggie Student Store, Administrative General funds, Refrigerator Services were all passed.
Sunday’s budget hearing started with the unanimous approval of the Cal Aggie Camp, KDVS, Project Compost, Book Exchange, City & County Affairs and Whole Earth Festival budgets.
The Senate continued its discussion on Pathfinder. Representative Sergio Blanco led the public discussion in an effort to reopen the budget, and discussed that Pathfinder’s mission statement would change to focus on a retention program.
Senators discussed allocation of money for ASUCD elections. “I question the amount of money allocations,” said Senator Torres. “Voter turnout is based on the quality of the candidates, [not on the money spent on the election].“
Controller Eli Yani began a debate over why the Elections Committee might deserve a proposed increase with the reasoning that additional funds could bring more candidates to a slate.
“We don’t just want a high turnout in terms of voters – we also want a high turnout in terms of candidates running for office,” Yani said.
Vocal opposition came from Senators Laura Pulido and Erin Lebe. Pulido said that, to the general student body, there is a lot of mystery around what ASUCD is, and that putting $2,000 dollars in to publicizing an unknown event might not be very effective.
Budgets for the Ethnic and Cultural Affairs Commission, Environmental Policy and Planning Commission and Gender and Sexualities Commission were increased and passed. Other additional increases to budgets included $300 to University Affairs for transportation costs, $6,000 for the Entertainment Council and funds for grants such as the REACH retreat and Upward Bound.
The pay for the student government management team historian was cut in half to $28 per week.
The senate cut funds completely for blood drives in order to voice disapproval for the policy that excludes men who have had sex with other men from giving blood.
Also, funding for AS Papers was cut entirely, but the equipment and space for publication will still exist under the responsibility of the vice president.
Matters regarding the budget of the student government were not entirely resolved, and will require further deliberation at a later meeting.
THE CAMPUS DESK can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.