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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

ASUCD senators examine 2012-13 budget

This past weekend, ASUCD senators discussed the $11.1 million budget for the 2012-13 year. The budget hearings lasted three days, and senators made decisions about the funding of the different ASUCD units.

Writers from The California Aggie attended the three-day meeting and compiled a summary of events.

Friday

Friday’s meeting was called to order at 5:16 p.m. The senate first discussed Unitrans.

“It’s going to be a very solid budget,” said ASUCD President Rebecca Sterling.

Unitrans has a $4.5 million budget, half of which comes from student fees, with the other coming from external sources.

Unitrans General Manager Anthony Palmere said that they are working on some big projects, including remodeling the Memorial Union (MU) bus terminal, adding a new west gate to control traffic and reconstructing the east side of Hutchinson Drive to have two lanes instead of one lane for buses to go through.

“We’re in excellent shape,” Palmere said. “The longer we can go without drawing from our fee reserve, the longer we can go without a fee increase.”

The ASUCD Coffee House, including the South Cafe and the CoHo to Go, was discussed next. The budget passed without major changes.

“The cafe is doing very well; we’re very happy with the daily traffic,” said Darin Schluep, front-of-the-house manager of the CoHo. “Sales have been good.”

However, there was a long discussion about the role of Creative Media in promoting the CoHo.
ASUCD previously decided that each unit would allocate a certain percentage of their advertising dollars to Creative Media. However, the CoHo was not one of the units to do so. After going back and forth, it was decided that Coulson and the rest of the CoHo managing team would have more time to decide, since it was rude to put them on the spot to make a decision then and there. Some senators argued that the CoHo doesn’t need to advertise since it’s so well-known, but others argued that it would help to build a stronger social media platform to promote deals and specials for students.
Next, the meeting moved to discuss the Aggie ReStore. The Aggie ReStore, a new unit created earlier in the year, was allocated $1,140 more for next year so they could create the job of Donations Manager.

“We strongly believe that this unit can break even,” said undergraduate Creative Director Loni Coelho.

The senate then moved on to discuss the Creative Media budget. For next year, Creative Media added new graphic artist positions and computer programming positions, which increased their salary total from $88,203 to $121,088 for the 2012-13 year. Sheehan suggested that they increase the amount of graphic designers further, but the motion did not pass in a 6-5-1 vote.

The table then opened the Cal Aggie Camp budget. The transportation line item was increased from $16,000 to $18,000 for the upcoming year. The budget was ultimately increased from last year, going from $67,262 to $69,212.

The table ended Friday night with a discussion of The Pantry’s budget. Most notably, The Pantry’s budget received an increase in the telephone and computer budget, because the unit previously did not have either. The budget closed at an approved $7,354.

The Campus Center for the Environment budget was opened and closed without any changes.

Project Compost’s budget was then opened. It closed with an expense total of $12,135.

The City/County Affairs budget was discussed.

Next, the Post Office budget was opened. The biggest change made was that the salary for assistant director was cut from $2,961 to $1,449, because they will not be having the assistant director work over the summer.

The Post Office budget was closed and the meeting was adjourned at 10:24 p.m.

Saturday

Budget hearings were called to order on Saturday morning at 11:15 a.m.

Budget hearings began on Saturday with a discussion of the Refrigerator Services budget.

The senate discussed the successes and importance of the unit. The biggest change was that the services rendered line item was increased from $5,000 to $7,750 for the upcoming year.
The budget closed with an expense total of $33,099.
The senate then moved on to discuss the AggieTV budget. No drastic changes were made from last year.
The KDVS budget was then opened. The senators had some issues with specific line items, but could not change them because the KDVS budget is approved by the Campus Media Board. After some discussion the budget was closed. According to multiple senators, this budget will likely be reopened at the senate meeting this Thursday, where it will probably be rejected and sent back to the Media Board.
Then, the Experimental College was discussed. In a reduction from last year’s budget of $128,888, the budget was closed at $110,876.

The director of Bike Barn explained that their spending would decrease after they digitize their workflow through Creative Media. They announced that with the start of Fall Quarter 2012, incoming students can buy and customize bicycles online.

The budget closed with an expense total of $515,066.

The California Aggie’s budget was then discussed. The California Aggie’s budget did not change much from the 2011-12 budget, and was closed quickly.

Senators then moved on to discuss the Entertainment Council.

The CoHo shows were cancelled due to the odd venue capacity.

A Cellphone Recharge line item was introduced as well, because the Entertainment Council no longer has phones. This way, students can use their cellphones to do Entertainment Council work, and be reimbursed.

Senate also voted to increase the Assistant Director’s salary to $2,600 in a 9-2-1 vote.

Entertainment Council’s expense budget was ultimately reduced in comparison to the 2011-12 year, decreasing from $71,148 to $66,982.

The STS/Tipsy Taxi budget was opened and closed without much discussion. The budget did not change drastically from the 2011-12 year.

The senate then moved on to discuss the budget of Aggie Threads. Aggie Threads, a new unit this year, will now have its own budget and no longer be connected to Campus Copies/Classical notes.

“Aggie Threads has been wildly successful,” said ASUCD Controller Melanie Maemura.

Once again, there was discussion about the role that Creative Media would play in regard to publicity for the unit. Goss added a Creative Media Recharge line item to the budget, which would be adjusted when decisions about Creative Media were made in the future.

The Aggie Threads budget closed with an expense total of $40,325.

Next, the table discussed the Campus Copies/Classical Notes budget. The expense budget was reduced from $124,431 in the 2011-12 year to $86,176 for next year. Ryan Hagens, the director of Campus Copies/Classical Notes, said that part of the reason for the reduction is that they are moving many of their services online. He also said that it was important that ASUCD considered the fact that Campus Copies/Classical Notes was no longer mainly a money-making unit, and it was turning into more of a service unit. Hagens said the reason for this is because more and more professors are podcasting and there is a change in students’ needs.

The Campus Copies/Classical Notes budget also had a Creative Media Recharge line item added.

The senate then discussed the budget for Picnic Day.

Unit director Jennifer Mappus said that each Picnic Day director is different when it comes to deciding which line items to take money from for different purchases.

Overall, the Picnic Day expense budget was increased from the 2011-12 year, from $33,573 to $37,316. However, they also proposed a $3,000 increase in income. Mappus said that she thought the Picnic Day glasses would sell well next year, and she projected an increase in income because Mappus knows Picnic Day can do it.

The table also discussed staff development, and Goss said he doesn’t like the fact that staff development in many units gets so much money. Mappus explained that staff development is very important for Picnic Day, and it really does matter if volunteers and employees get along with the people they are working with.

The senate closed the Picnic Day budget and opened the Lobby Corps budget.

For next year, Lobby Corps cut two positions and added a new one titled Field Director.

There was some confusion about the new position, because originally City/County Affairs had said they would pay for half of their salary, but then they decided they didn’t need the position.

The budget for transportation was also increased from the 2011-12 year, so Lobby Corps could afford to send more students to the capitol to lobby.

After closing the Lobby Corps budget, the senators moved on to discuss the Whole Earth Festival (WEF) budget.

WEF Director Anne Litak said that Whole Earth always needs more money, but they have come to accept that they have to go to outside sources to get it.

Litak said that she was in talks with people to start re-doing the long-range plan for WEF so they could reorganize the way money was spent and make it more efficient.

After the Whole Earth Festival budget was closed, the senate then moved on to open University Affairs. For the 2012-13 year there was a decrease in the expenses of the unit, from $2,629 for the 2011-12 year, to $1,104. This was due to the fact that the voter registration line item was moved to City/County Affairs. Goss increased the projected income to $1,200, as he said it was possible that they would be receiving that much money from CalPIRG for rent space.

University Affairs was closed and the senators continued on to talk about the Vice President’s budget.

Vice President Yena Bae was very passionate about her Campus Safety line item, and said she would be using it to increase different kinds of campus safety, including holding a campus safety forum.

Student Led Education (SLED) was cut, because Bae said that no one used that money last year. The senate chose to cut $125 from the Campus Safety line item, as they felt that the line item was almost never used every year.

The senate closed the Vice President’s budget at $10,713.

The meeting adjourned at 10:31 p.m.

Sunday
Sunday’s meeting was called to order at 11:11 a.m.

The senators began Sunday with a discussion of the President’s budget.

Debate arose from the special projects budget.

Senator Goss defended the idea that the budget of $3,000 was too high for special projects, and that this money was “supercharged” by money taken away from cutting units and positions which he felt are the more important aspect of ASUCD. He proposed a $2,300 budget which he felt was a fair compromise.

Sterling argued that she wanted the President’s office to be a hub for action and should have the means to get things done, but Goss furthered his argument with “money does not translate into action.”

After an hour-long discussion, the senate made a motion for a $2,600 budget with the $400 going to Lobby Corps, which was passed.
The General Administration budget was opened and closed without much discussion.

The Elections Committee line item was cut from $6,500 to $6,000 and the extra $500 was split between the Ethnic and Cultural Affairs Commission (ECAC) and the Gender and Sexualities Commission (GASC).

The Aggie Public Arts Committee budget was reduced to $0, and senators decided that the committee should come to the senate for funding for specific projects.

The Student Police Relations Chair salary was cut from $49/week to $42/week in a 9-1-1 vote.

The senate then re-opened the Picnic Day budget. Some senators said they were concerned that they were being “over-cautious” with the budget for Picnic Day. Sheehan said that his goal was to cut $500 from Picnic Day so that they could give money to other units who needed it.

After the Picnic Day budget was closed, the senate opened the General Programs budget.

At this point, Maemura announced a surplus of $1,812, which she attributed to Aggie Threads.

The senate then discussed the Aggie Pack budget, which was set to suffer cuts. Anguiano argued that Aggie Pack was only facing cuts when it came to material goods such as T-shirts and tube socks. Furthermore, she said that they had misappropriated money in the past.

Senator Kabir Kapur also argued that Aggie pride should be about spirit and not free things.

However, Han argued that Aggie Pack puts on homecoming, and would be able to have a better homecoming week if they didn’t have to deal with the $1,000 cut to the homecoming line item. Padgett said that material goods have intrinsic value.

After a long discussion, the budget was not changed.

The table then opened the Grants budget, and began to discuss the Safe Boats line items.

Goss said that Safe Boats can be privately funded, that Houseboats is a special interest only benefiting a select few students and that Houseboats is not an educational experience. Kapur said he would like to see a reduction in funding to give Safe Boats a transitional period toward financial independence.

A representative from Student Health and Wellness said that they do not want to associate ASUCD with that type of activity.

Han said that they must provide safety for students regardless of what they do.

Gilbert said that ASUCD in principle does the same thing to “subsidize dangerous activity” when they provide condoms to students. He said that student safety must come first.

The Safe Boats discussion continued.

“I don’t think I should be funding temporary insurance for other students. I don’t think it’s my responsibility to fund that,” said a member of the audience.

Sterling said that the matter of Safe Boats funding isn’t about “owing” the greek system anything.

“The goal is to have a diverse budget and to reach out to everyone in our student budget in every way,” Sterling said.

Senator Paul Min said that he did not support funding Safe Boats.

“If we really do care about student safety we should be discouraging this practice.  Funding Safe Boats is encouraging this practice,” Min said.

Many audience members were concerned about the idea that Houseboats was very exclusive, and mainly for the greek system.

“My money is not going to pay for students’ exclusive notions of safety,”  said former ASUCD senator Miguel Espinoza.

Senator Bottoms said that he supported funding Safe Boats.

“I might not be a member of this event and I might not necessarily agree with it, but [I want to ensure their safety],” he said.

Multiple audience members said they believed that Houseboats promotes an environment of homophobia, racism, sexism and discrimination.

Ultimately Safe Boats funding was reduced to $370 for Safe Boats and $130 for Safe Boat education, from the original proposal of $1,120.

The senate then discussed the $500 surplus that they had, and decided to refund GASC and ECAC to their 2011-12 levels of funding.
Internal Affairs Commission chair Sergio Cano asked for a line item for an archiving job, so ASUCD could keep track of what happens in the association and be able to refer back to former years. The Student Government History line item was added for $66.
The table discussed opening the Creative Media budget again, but ultimately decided to wait to discuss it at Thursday’s senate meeting.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:56 p.m.

THE CAMPUS NEWS DESK can be reached at campus@theaggie.org.

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