Letters to the Editor

    Editor:

    The Graduate Student Association is holding a fee referendum on StudentLink from March 4 to March 15. The referendum seeks to increase the grad student activity fee from $8 per quarter to $12 per quarter. This fee was instated in 1988 and was last raised in 1994 to the current $8 per quarter.

    Why does the GSA need a fee increase? The GSA gets about $80,000 a year. The number of departments and events using GSA funds has been increasing. Since 1999, we’ve spent about $92,000 yearly. We used reserve funds for the deficit, but these are nearly exhausted. Our share of vending machine income may drop to one-seventh instead of one-sixth. If we don’t generate more revenue, we will have to make more cuts. We’ve already reduced our contributions to the University of California Student Association and to the National Association of Graduate and Professional Students. We cut back funding to graduate student lounges and departmental programs and symposia.

    Why is the GSA over-budget? Our exposure to the graduate population has increased. The attendance at GSA-sponsored events has grown faster than the grad population. Per our financial by-laws, organizers can request funding from the GSA for events that enrich grad student life. Such funding has been and is increasing faster than revenues.

    In 1997-1998, we gave over $21,000 to grad orgs and departments, with a $78,000 budget. Last year, we gave $24,100 of our $80,000 budget. We want to continue to meet demands and fund organizations or departments that come to us with a worthy request.

    The $4 increase will generate about $36,000 a year in revenue. This will cover the deficit and should meet increased demand for GSA money for seven years.

    –Frank Chang

    GSA Vice President Finance

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