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Monday, June 24, 2024

Editorial: Experimental College

In his State of the Association speech on Tuesday, ASUCD President Adam Thongsavat said he’s looking to reform the Experimental College (EC). Hopefully this means ASUCD is considering a subsidy, because the unit and the campus would greatly benefit from it.

ASUCD hasn’t given EC a subsidy since 1994. In the past, EC was able to operate purely from the registration fees people paid to take its classes. But in 2007-2008, EC spent more than it earned, and had to dip into its reserve funds – money saved from EC’s more profitable days. This year, EC has $29,764 from its own reserves to work with.

EC deserves an investment from ASUCD. When drafting a budget, its director shouldn’t have to worry about not having a reliable contribution. It should have the funding it needs to continue to offer eclectic classes and diversify the campus, because that’s what this is all about – preserving experimental spaces.

EC was founded in 1966, bringing opportunities to learn things not offered at the university – subjects out of the mainstream, like gender issues. While its class selection has changed over the years, EC is still vital to UC Davis. It’s the only place where anyone – staff, community member or student – can come and learn alternative skills from one another.

Just this quarter, EC is offering classes on the state budget crisis, belly dancing, foot massage and how to think like a dog. Students teaching students. And massaging feet. And thinking like dogs. What isn’t there to like?

Some might argue that EC needs to get back to where it once was, where it could operate solely off of its own income. But times are different. Students are paying a far higher tuition while money is tighter at home. Some are suffering too much from the budget crisis to pay $30 to learn about the budget crisis.

But it’s not like EC isn’t putting in an effort to broaden its pool of students. In the past, it served much more than its current average of 200 people per quarter, according to Hannah Moore, EC office manager. The unit is trying to bring more people in through promotion coordinators and interns, who are now papering the campus and speaking in lecture halls.

Obviously, if ASUCD were to provide additional funds to one unit, they’d have to take some away from another. While this is not ideal, units that are actually pulling their own weight, like EC, deserve the association’s support.

1 COMMENT

  1. I have to respectfully disagree here. I love EC, however we are in this financial mess (campus, state, country, and world) because everyone thinks it’s OK to overspend and get the money from somewhere else. The harsh reality is that there is NO “somewhere else”. Spending less than you bring in is the ONLY way to operate both business and personal finances. Sorry, I know that’s a savage truth!

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