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Friday, February 23, 2024

ASUCD faces possibility of 42 percent budget cut

A $4 million budget cut to UC Davis Student Affairs is leaving ASUCD with the possibility of an estimated $250,000 reduction to the annual budget.

This does not include the added Shared Service Center (SSC) Tax and University of California Office of the President (UCOP) taxes. A taxing of 1.6 percent of the $11.1 million budget on all university expenditures will raise the total to an amount of $658,000.

Added to the SSC and UCOP taxes, a re-budgeting of the university’s direct cost assessment that grants subsidies on common amenities, such as police and fire services, water and electricity, faces a possible continuous  reduction  annually until the full amount of what it would cost to use the  utilities would be charged, said outgoing ASUCD President Adam Thongsavat.

“All packaged together, this is the perfect storm of what can cripple ASUCD,” he said.

Depending on the final budget for 2012-13 school year, the prospects of the budget reduction increases the possibilities of a minimization in the amount of student jobs, higher prices in places such as the ASUCD Coffee House (CoHo), Bike Barn, Education Opportunity Program (EOP) or a noticeable change in Unitrans.

“The smaller units could potentially see a devastating blow especially ones that receive the subsidy,”  Thongsavat said.

This would also infringe on the functioning of the university’s noncommercial units, such as AggieTV and the campus radio station, KDVS, as well as Picnic Day, Whole Earth Festival and Campus Copies.

“That’s what we’re trying to convey to the administration right now, we have to tell them the benefit of having a strong student government, the services we offer and how much it would detriment ASUCD. We are very much on edge…” he said.

The Coffee House services 7,000 customers daily, while Unitrans receives 3.3 million passengers annually.

ASUCD President-elect Rebecca Sterling said she intends on fighting the possible budget cuts.

“There is much the community relies on that ASUCD is able to provide with its current budget … ASUCD now is special in that it is able to reach groups all over campus, empower students to have leadership positions and extend their Davis experiences much further than the classroom — many of these opportunities would be risked,” she said.

Students pay $105 to ASUCD annually, according to Thongsavat, and in the event that the SSC tax takes effect, all registration fees would be countermanded.

ASUCD Business Manager Brett Burns is working to mitigate the impact  that the possible budget reductions  would have on the school and aims to increase service efficiency through exploring new revenue opportunities.

Even though ASUCD is considerably autonomous by filing separate taxes as a nonprofit organization, they are still operating under the governance of the University of California, Burns said.

“Well documented, the University of California is in financial peril because of lack of state support to higher education, through the new budgeting and operating model all units within the Division of Student Affairs and the entire campus are dealing with budget reductions. ASUCD is no different,” he said. “If the decision was reversed and ASUCD did not have the reduction, then another area of campus, specifically the division of Student Affairs, would bear a greater budget reduction burden. I.e. Campus Recreation, Housing, Intercollegiate Athletics, etc..”

Thongsavat said the potential budget cuts would fundamentally alter how ASUCD operates.

“It would be hard to find a student that doesn’t use at least one ASUCD service a day and I think that says a lot about our association,”  he said.

Both Thongsavat and Sterling urge students to rally behind ASUCD to fight budget reductions.

Sterling said the cuts put at risk everything that is most valued and attractive about the university and agrees it will be a difficult fight.

“It is something our student body must take a united front against.  There is nothing we will write off doing to make sure that ASUCD and our campus are not threatened with these cuts,” she said.

The next budgeting process for the 2012-13 school year will begin in Spring during May budget hearings. ASUCD is exempted from the SSC tax until June 30.

MUNA SADEK can be reached at campus@theaggie.org.

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