The Shared Services Center, which is intended to centralize all campus services in order to make them more efficient, would have cost ASUCD $235,560 a year.
Sterling argued that if ASUCD had been forced to join the Shared Services Center, it would have become less efficient.
“Had we joined in the center we would have been using student fees to pay for an unnecessary tax which would cost more for the same services we already do, and decrease our ability to be the largest student employer on campus,” Sterling said in an e-mail interview.
Mark Champagne, former ASUCD business manager, agreed.
“If the issue is about University efficiency, then ASUCD should be exempted permanently. ASUCD can process their own transactions for far less money than the Shared Services Center,” Champagne said in an e-mail interview.
Students vote to decide how their fees are used within ASUCD. Champagne said that students should make sure that the university continues to honor the votes of the students.
“There are legal and ethical issues that surround taxing units that receive funding from student votes,” Champagne said. “In order to protect the integrity of the votes, students should be vigilant in making sure that the money is spent in a manner that is consistent with terms within each referendum.”
If ASUCD had been forced to pay the fee, large ASUCD units such as the ASUCD Coffee House (CoHo) and the Bike Barn could have seen a rise in prices. Smaller units, such as KDVS and Picnic Day, could also have been negatively affected.
Former ASUCD President Adam Thongsavat emphasized the importance of ASUCD’s services on campus, and said that the Shared Services tax would have inhibited ASUCD’s ability to serve the campus.
“With everything from concerts to student-run organizations to the Aggie, it’s amazing the volume and the quantity and the reach we [ASUCD] have compared to any other campus department,” Thongsavat said.
Both Sterling and Thongsavat met with Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi to discuss the issue, and she later made the decision to exempt ASUCD from the Shared Services Center.
While ASUCD is exempt for the 2012-13 fiscal year, no decisions have been made about future years.
HANNAH STRUMWASSER can be reached at email@example.com.