A.S. Council passes budget

A $1.2 million 2002-2003 A.S. Council Executive Budget was passed during the tenth week of spring quarter during the A.S. Council’s final meeting of the year. The executive budget, written by A.S. President Jenn Brown, determines how each UCSD student’s $21 quarterly activity fee will be spent during the upcoming year.

The A.S. programming department, which organizes such concerts as FallFest, WinterFest and Sun God, received the largest allocation of the total $425,000. While WinterFest and Sun God will be operating under the same budget as they did during the 2001-2002 school year, FallFest has received an additional $15,000. The funding increase will be used to move the concert from its usual venue, RIMAC Arena, out to RIMAC field, which has a larger capacity.

Brown said that the reason for moving the concert to the field was due to the 2002 concert’s inability to accommodate the number of students wishing to attend.

“”Thousands of students had to be turned away last year,”” Brown said.

This year’s council has also set the improvement of school spirit on campus as a high priority. Because of this, the budget has allocated an additional $14,000 to Athletic Relations to fund the spirit association Triton Tide.

“”With Robin Shelton as the commissioner of athletics next year, we expect Triton Tide to just explode,”” Brown said.

Thurgood Marshall College’s traditional Cultural Celebration, which has been a Marshall tradition for over 20 years, was initially cut from the A.S. Council budget. After much protest from Marshall students over the program’s removal in the earlier budget drafts, TMC senators lobbied hard for the reinstatement of funding for the event.

According to Brown, the initial removal of the Cultural Celebration from the budget received more response than any other action she has taken during her three years as a member of A.S. Council.

To maintain similar levels of funding and to support emerging programs, the A.S. Council budget dips into its mandate reserve fund by $50,000. The $800,000 of reserve money is meant to fund new programs and act as an A.S. Council safety net in the event of an unforeseen problem, such as a lawsuit or needing to aid a failing A.S. enterprise.

The spending of mandate reserves, according to Brown, was “”solely to fund at the basic level the things that the A.S. needs to be funding.””

This year’s budget has also included new programs that have never been funded before, including the new Alliance Program.

The Alliance Program, which received $4,000 in funding, trains participants to work as allies of the LGBTA community. The first two training sessions of the year were described by Sierra Catcott, one of the program’s organizers, as “”extremely successful.””

While the budget allots new funds to emerging programs, cuts were also made.

The Academic Success Program, which was created and run by students to maintain a higher student retention rate at UCSD through book lending and tutoring, received a budget cut despite the program’s growth over the past year.

The budget also spent $30,000 less on annual A.S. executive member stipends than was initially recommended by the stipend committee. Brown will also be making $1,125 less than last year’s A.S. President, Jeff Dodge.

With the program cuts and expansion of Associated Students, Brown said that it might be time to consider “”an activity fee increase.””

UCSD students now pay $21 each quarter in activity fees to Associated Students. There has not been any official attempt to raise this fee.

Brown also said that the A.S. Council is looking at additional ways to increase revenue.

“”The A.S. is considering creating a new enterprise, such as a balloon delivery service, a hair salon or a record store on campus,”” Brown said.