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Davis, California

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Guest opinion

Last week, ASUCD held its annual budget hearings, which ran for a total of 33 hours. The $10.7 million budget is up for contention and debate on where money should be allocated. However, only 20 percent of the budget is really maneuverable, as the other 80 percent is locked into Unitrans, Cal Aggie Camp and the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP). Unfortunately, due to an operational change in the UC President’s office, there is now an operational tax of 0.5 percent on UC Davis and ASUCD which will increase to 1.5 percent in 2014-2015. In order to find the necessary cuts and revenue sources to fulfill that tax obligation, senators debated, name-called and yelled over their philosophical and political opinions.

As a dedicated servant of ASUCD, having served unpaid since the first quarter of my freshman year, my perspective on the budget is that it should be one that benefits the student body and makes effective and efficient use of every dollar. It is saddening to see senators, the management and the public have to use low tactics against each other. While many advocate self-respect and mutual understanding of each other, as said in the Principles of Community, those ideals were hypocritically not put into practice at the budget hearings.

My understanding of the arguments presented was that they all revolved around fairness. Some senators believed fairness to be an equal distribution of funding for every unit and service, because that allows a diverse, wide-ranging impact of ASUCD on students. Some senators believed that fairness meant supporting services that did not have the corporate sponsors or established foundations to take a cut. While both sides had valid arguments with purposes for benefiting large constituencies, it is best that a compromise be resolved.

Regrettably, “compromise” was another word that was thrown around and not taken seriously. Compromise to a few senators meant “meet me halfway.” Compromise to another few senators was “my way or the highway.” This conflict is absolutely ridiculous and embarrassing when more important student issues are on the line, like soaring student fees or soaring student debt. A few senators couldn’t reach a compromise because they had prioritized their own agenda over the rest of the student body. While their agendas are sincerely valid and heartbreaking, it is important to remember that the budget is not about emotions and politics should not be about pride, or else the person with the loudest and most aggressive argument would win every time.

ASUCD, do not get distracted and do not waste any more time from the most important student issues at hand, which are the skyrocketing tuition hikes and the decreasing higher education opportunities for all students, especially those from marginalized communities. Students, we have been bickering among ourselves when the real enemies are the ones with budgets thousands of times ours and have been making handsome profits off of our sweat and labor. Our opposition is the administration, UC regents and state government. We should not be blaming our woes on each other when we did not cause these problems.



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