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Davis

Davis, California

Friday, October 22, 2021

Newly formed campus activity fund committee in danger of dissolving

Campus officials recently announced a new Campus Activity Fund (CAF), aiming to support student organizations and programs. Students involved in the fund’s advisory board, however, are debunking its purpose.

The Center for Student Involvement, in consultation with U.S. Bank and the Division of Student Affairs, created CAF along with the Campus Activity Fund Committee, comprised of graduate and undergraduate students. It will act as an advisory board to Fred Wood, vice chancellor of Student Affairs, on how to best support student services with the money coming from various commercial activities that happen on campus.

“The campus recognizes the hardships that the current budget situation poses for students and are trying very hard to find creative ways to continue to support student programs and activities and make the student life experience at UC Davis an exciting and memorable one,” said Lori Fuller, program coordinator for Campus Unions and Recreation Board, in an e-mail interview.

Since the first meeting three weeks ago, the committee has essentially dissolved. After hammering out the application process and guidelines, a majority of members felt the committee was unnecessary. They are concerned that Club Finance Council (CFC) essentially serves the same purpose.

“I would like to make sure that we aren’t creating a process that mimics or is redundant to CFC because that may be confusing to student groups applying for money,” said Nick Sidney, advisory committee member and chair of Campus Unions and Recreation Board, in an e-mail interview.

Fuller points out that CAF is different from CFC mostly in where the money for each fund comes from and in the restrictions for allocating these funds.

“CAF funding comes from certain commercial activities that happen on campus, whereas CFC funds come from ASUCD,” Fuller said. “In addition to differing funding sources, the CAF fund will support graduate student organizations as well as help student organizations subsidize costs such as food.”

The members of the committee are charged with developing the processes that will be used to allocate funds. They are given power to decide on the amount of funds each student organization or program would be allotted, limitations to funding, the application process and developing funding guidelines.

The amount of money the committee advises on will vary each year depending on the number of commercial events taking place on campus.

“The fact is of course that we have virtually no say in where the money goes,” said Brian Sparks, senior international relations major and former committee member. “We joined an advisory committee that was told to do one thing, and we did it. That’s not power, and it doesn’t actually give us or any other student a say in where the money goes.”

Wood takes the recommendations and opinion of the committee regarding CAF spending very seriously, Fuller said.

“The entire committee idea is a cover,” Sparks said. “The administration has already decided how they are going to spend that money.”

The reason for having students sit on the committee is a means to minimize the controversy of U.S. Bank funding CAF, Sparks said.

“Like it or not, U.S. Bank is going to be on campus for the next 10 years. Given that, I do appreciate that some money is being returned to students and that we have some say in where it goes,” Sidney said. “No employees of U.S. Bank or any other commercial entity decide which programs get money and which do not.”

It is unlikely that Wood will work to create another committee if this one disbands, Sparks said. Involvement in the beginning was very weak.

“It is very difficult to convince people to spend long hours working for a committee that has virtually no decision-making power,” Sparks said.

Sparks urged CAF members to skip the Nov. 9 meeting. Fuller was the only person present.

KATIE LEVERONI can be reached at campus@theaggie.org.

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