UC Davis officials have finalized an agreement with U.S. Bank executives, marking the start of a partnership that will guarantee student services approximately $3 million over 10 years.
The agreement, signed in late September, will allow U.S. Bank to launch a branch in the Memorial Union (MU) East Conference Room and six U.S. Bank ATMs located on campus. It would also allow the bank limited advertising privileges, including a U.S. Bank logo on the back of all student and faculty identification cards. The bank will offer optional access to U.S. Bank services through campus ID cards.
“We’re extremely pleased with the partnership,” said Brett Burns, executive director of auxiliary units for Student Services. “And the revenue gained from the partnership will enhance students’ experiences in this interesting financial time.”
U.S. Bank partners guaranteed the university annual payments of $130,000 to $780,000 a year based on the number of banking accounts activated; it estimates an average annual payment of $280,000.
The $3 million in funds will directly support student services such as Campus Recreation, Campus Unions, Intercollegiate Athletics and other student-service organizations.
“By forging public-private partnerships,” said Fred Wood, vice chancellor for Student Affairs in a press release, “the university has embraced a much needed entrepreneurial spirit, one that balances the unique needs of our community with opportunities to generate new revenue.”
However, some students still do not agree with the implications of the partnership and feel left out of the planning.
“[The senate] talked about this a year ago and we were supposed to be involved in the process, but they just announced the finalized plans last week,” said ASUCD senator Jack Zwald. “Also, the MU is a place for students, not predatory banking corporations. We’re eliminating student space and replacing it with a branch operation of a bank.”
To ensure that the funding is adequately apportioned, the university established a committee comprised of mostly students who will advise Wood on how the funds should be distributed and which services should be included in the profits. The committee will also ensure that future partnerships fit the needs of UC Davis.
The negotiations for a corporate sponsorship such as the one established with U.S. Bank began in 2005, when university officials sent requests for negotiations to several banks. After a bid conference with eight different banks, administrators selected U.S. Bank.
Many students learned of the plans to establish the corporate sponsorship in January of this year and opposed the plans. These students requested more involvement in the planning process to ensure the appropriate student services were included in the profits.
Former ASUCD president Ivan Carrillo met with students and university administrators to ensure the partnership considered student needs. With help from Carrillo and current ASUCD President Joe Chatham, ASUCD established a set of criteria that Student Affairs officials would be required to follow when administering the funds.
The criteria include campus programs with non-flexible budgets such as the Cross Cultural Center and the Women’s Resources and Research Center, as well as organizations that promote student wellbeing and cultural enrichment, Chatham said.
These organizations will receive the money left over from what the prior negotiations provisioned. The majority of the funds will go toward Campus Recreation. ICA will also receive a large amount of the funds due to the ability to advertise at many of the sporting events. Campus Unions and the Fountain and Vending fund will also receive a portion of the revenue.
“I am pleased that students are participating in deciding how the partnership will help the programs and services we use,” Chatham said in a press release.
Students and faculty can expect the six new ATMs in the spring of this year and ID cards with the U.S. Bank logo in the fall of 2010. U.S. Bank also plans to offer financial literacy and credit management seminars for students.
Student Affairs representatives stated they are open to scrutiny and plan to keep the process open, fair, competitive and consultative.
LAUREN STEUSSY can be reached at email@example.com.