This weekend, the Associated Students of UC Davis (ASUCD) budget hearings will be held to determine the funding of each ASUCD unit for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1.
From Friday through Sunday, ASUCD officials will discuss and vote on how best to distribute their budget among each of the 24 ASUCD units. Among these units are the ASUCD Coffee House (CoHo), Unitrans, KDVS, the Entertainment Council, The California Aggie and several other notable campus organizations.
The budget is proposed by the ASUCD president based on financial analysis of each unit by the Controller’s office, discussion with individual unit directors and unit tours by the president and vice president to attain qualitative and quantitative data about the needs of each unit.
The proposed total operating budget for the 2012-2013 school year is $11.1 million.
However, ASUCD must also account for the payment of new taxes, which as of recently have amounted to about $60,000.
“Unfortunately, these taxes are not one time taxes,” ASUCD President Rebecca Sterling said in an e-mail interview. “This is just the first year we are seeing these taxes, and they are only scheduled to increase in the coming years.”
To accommodate for the payment of these taxes, as well as to assist in the association’s recovery from what Sterling called a “deficit year,” several units will face the risk of financial cuts this weekend.
The taxes stand to possibly affect the future funding of any and all units of ASUCD. However, some of the units may be more financially secure than others.
“There are certain areas that will probably be cut more,” said ASUCD Senator Bradley Bottoms. “I doubt Unitrans, the CoHo or Tipsy Taxi will be receiving many cuts.”
On the other hand, Bottoms did state his belief that outside organizations and events such as general grants programs and cultural days are more likely to face cuts since they are not actual affiliates of ASUCD, but rather recipients of funding from ASUCD.
Furthermore, Bottoms stated his belief that potential cuts made to organizations such as KDVS or Project Compost would likely pertain to expensive equipment rather than student positions.
According to both Sterling and Bottoms, among ASUCD’s largest priorities are protecting the largest amount of student employment and leadership opportunities within ASUCD’s own units.
“Units come first,” Bottoms said. “They are the base of ASUCD, what we have established in our organization, our source of student jobs.”
Bottoms emphasized ASUCD’s dedication to the preservation of students’ employment and leadership positions by stating that the senators will strive to make decisions that increase the amount of such opportunities.
“Student employment is the one area [senators] are not willing to compromise in cuts,” Bottoms said. “Our students’ employment is one of the most important parts of our association.”
Beyond casting their own votes to preserve student interests, though, ASUCD senators encourage students to attend the budget hearings for themselves and make their opinions on platforms heard.
Expression of the wants and needs of the public may be of such value to ASUCD senators because, according to ASUCD Controller Melanie Maemura, many of the most divisive issues are ultimately decided based on senators’ own interpretations of the ASUCD mission statement.
The essence of this mission, according to the web page of President Rebecca Sterling, is “true student representation.”
Student attendance and participation affords ASUCD senators an opportunity to hear the voice of the public, which, Bottoms stated, has swayed senators’ decisions on issues in the past.
“The most contentious issues are philosophical ones relating to our mission statement as an Association,” Maemura said. “The biggest question is: how can we produce a budget that ensures our Association remains financially healthy and robust, but also maintains our unique range of services?”
The hearings begin at 5 p.m. this Friday in the Mee Room in the Memorial Union. Budget hearings will continue in the ARC Conference Room 1 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday.
DYLAN GALLAGHER can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.