UC Davis Conference and Event Services (CES) rescinded a proposed room reservation fee March 6 that that would have taken effect beginning Spring quarter.
The fee would have charged $10 to any club organization or party that planned on holding meetings on campus. The arrangement is currently free to students.
To demonstrate dissatisfaction with the proposal, junior managerial economics major, Miles Thomas, founded the League of Campus Organizations (LOCO) this year.
According to Thomas, the purpose of LOCO is to provide a forum for all clubs to interact with each other and unite under common causes.
“[LOCO] provides opportunities to work together for the greater good on campus,” he said.
Assistant Vice Chancellor of Campus Planning, Bob Segar, issued a statement that explained that CES faced a $497,000 budget reduction last year due to a decrease in state funding. Reducing staff, implementing efficiency measures and raising certain fees closed the gap. The proposed room reservation fee was expected to garner about $28,000 to assist with the reduction.
“Having been made aware of the effect that this fee will have on study groups led by TAs and events hosted by student organizations, we will suspend the fee while a representative group of students is convened to consider this matter,” Segar said.
A vice president to LOCO, Trevor Adams, sophomore computer science major, said departmental clubs would not have been affected by the fee but it still raised large concerns because of the large amount of students who are in non-departmental clubs.
“So much of the college experience is based in clubs,” he said.
Service clubs particularly would have been affected as well.
Emily Tobey, who represented the UC Davis chapter of Colleges Against Cancer (CAC) and is a vice president to LOCO, believes clubs’ presence on campus is of little cost to the university, but would have been hurt deeply by the fees.
“We have a lot of clubs that are service clubs and a lot of the money that they raise goes toward charity, so it’s really unfortunate if instead of going to their cause, it has to go to room reservation,” Tobey said.
Any potential fees in the future would play a large role in the disbanding of clubs. Vice president of LOCO and senior economics major, Edson Perez said he believes it would deter clubs from actually forming.
As it is just beginning, LOCO plans to facilitate large multi-group projects and provide a collective voice when lobbying for causes on campus. Ellen Labitzke, sophomore English and women gender studies double major, said that any force that deters clubs will have a negative impact on the university.
“Clubs do not usually cost the school very much money but they add so much to the school,” she said.
ASUCD Senator Justin Goss also serves as vice president of LOCO and said that the club encapsulates the vision which he initially had when running for ASUCD senate.
“[UC Davis] is an enormous campus with an enormous student population. These students have diverse interests which are often reflected in campus organizations. If a person were able to link these organizations and diverse resources together and allow them to freely interact with one another, the possibilities for collaboration, education, and just doing awesome things on campus seems basically limitless.” Goss said.
He believes that the fee would have affected larger clubs by forcing them to divert some resources toward room reservation, which would disable them to work on projects and hold events. Smaller clubs would in turn shrink, as certain members would be unable or unwilling to pay fees.
He believes that budget cuts and tuition increases need to be stopped if we want to deter future reservation fees.
“So this new fee is just another instantiation of the broader cuts to higher education we’re seeing,” Goss said.
Despite the fee suspension, members of LOCO plan to meet with administrators to address concerns.
“We are going to talk to administrators and … put things into perspective for the administration so they’ll be able to re-prioritize,” Thomas said.
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