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Davis, California

Sunday, April 14, 2024

University to raise fees on student groups for facility rentals

A cut in state funding will soon force the university to charge student groups for using campus classrooms.

“Because it used to be free, it makes a big difference,” said Lina Layiktez, director of Conference and Event Services at UC Davis.

Under current guidelines, classrooms like Wellman 2 are free for student groups to use. But come March 18, a $10 “reservation fee” will be implemented. In addition, the fees for other facilities are also set to rise.

Layiktez’s office is responsible for maintaining a reservation system for all facilities on campus. The department last year lost $460,000 in state funding, so she believes the new fees are necessary.

“The state money was previously used to offset the reservation system. Now that it’s gone, we’re going to have to start charging,” Layiktez said.

The new fees will impact all student organizations on campus. But small clubs like the International Relations Student Association (IRSA) may bear the brunt.

“It smacks of discrimination based on account figures,” said Josh Lovelace, president of the IRSA.

Because small organizations tend to have less money, Lovelace is worried that many of them, including his own, may be forced to move off-campus.

Anne Myler, associate director of the Center for Student Involvement, agrees the fees are problematic.

“If you meet once a week, that’s $100 a quarter,” she said.

The UC Davis campus is host to 541 clubs, and Myler said there are easily 400 of them that use campus facilities.

“It’s going to have a tremendous impact,” she said.

The new fees also have some students questioning the campus Occupy movement’s use of facilities. Some students are wondering why student groups have to pay for rooms when the administration has let occupiers occupy buildings.

The Occupy movement has hosted a series of events using campus space including Griffin Lounge in the Memorial Union. According to Myler, only registered student organizations are permitted to make reservations for campus facilities. Records from Conference and Event Services indicate that no reservations were made on behalf of Occupy.

Some members of Occupy said it was “ludicrous for student groups to be charged yet again to use the space that they are already paying for, when Occupy is not.”

The continued occupation of the Quad is another point of contention. With Picnic Day and Whole Earth Festival coming up, student leaders and campus officials are growing anxious about the few tents still pitched there. These groups have already reserved the Quad for their events.

“Every time I see a tent out there, it makes me worry for the events that are scheduled. We are concerned for every client,” Layiktez said.

When asked what the university’s plans were about Picnic Day, Associate Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Griselda Castro re-affirmed the event would take place.

“The message to Picnic Day planners is: Yes, it’s going to happen, one way or another,” she said.

In response to student concerns about Picnic Day, some members of the Occupy movement released a statement.

“If the organizers [of Picnic Day] would like to help us shut down U.S. Bank via direct action, we would certainly be open to helping with Picnic Day.”

RICHARD CHANG can be reached at campus@theaggie.org.


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