A.S. council passes 2004-05 budget

    The Associated Students approved the executive budget for the 2004-05 year by a 16-4-4 vote at their June 2 meeting. In light of lower-than-expected revenues, the new budget cut an average of 10 percent across the board for all funding allocations.

    “It’s a maintenance year, not a growth year,” Thurgood Marshall College Junior Senator Kate Pillon said.

    College councils took over a 24-percent cut in their funding, from $65,700 this year to a proposed $50,250 for next year.

    “I think it’s ridiculous that in a year [colleges] are experiencing [such a large] cut,” Thurgood Marshall Senior Senator Kate Maull said.

    According to Warren College Chair Erik Ward, the cuts to college budgets will affect the operations of college-affiliated organizations.

    “The main effect is that A.S. won’t be able to provide as much funding for events and organizations,” Ward said.

    A major point of contention during dicussions of the budget centered on funding allocated for student-initiated outreach programming and operating costs. Outreach was one of the few areas that received an increase in funding for next year, partially to make up for the state cuts that the outreach programs have also experienced.

    Although A.S. president Jenn Pae originally proposed allocating $52,000 to outreach, the council amended the figure to $41,000 in the final budget.

    Several A.S. councilmembers were opposed to the original figure for the funding.

    “I think it’s a really bad precedent for A.S. to be [outreach’s] sole source of funding after the state cuts,” John Muir College Sophomore Senator Lulu Ge said. “I think the most responsible thing to do is to decrease their funding to $41,000.”

    Another major point of debate was the allocation of funding for the annual Sungod festival. The original proposed budget stipulated a supplemental allocation of $12,000 to be submitted from A.S. enterprises’ income during second week of winter quarter next year for the event. Among others, A.S. Commissioner of Programming Rishi Shah expressed concern over whether this money would be available by next year.

    “I don’t feel comfortable saying we’re going to get the money from somewhere later on for Sungod,” Pillon said.

    A motion to allocate another $5,000 from general unallocated funds to Sungod was passed by a 19-3-0 vote. Another motion to move an additional $7,000 from separate unallocated funds to Sungod failed to pass by a 9-10-1 vote. The issue of funding for Sungod will be reviewed again in the fall next year.

    The Academic Success Program will receive $42,000 under the new budget, which is almost a 10-percent increase from their funding this year.

    Although content with ASP’s funding, ASP director Terry Le was disappointed by the cuts to outreach funding.

    “This budget [crisis] has really gotten on my nerves,” Le said. “I’m really torn between getting the funds for ASP and seeing other organizations … that we’ll be working with getting their funds cut.”

    Although funding for the Excel Leadership Conference, which is run annually by the UCSD Greek community, was originally cut to $7,200 for next year, the council moved to restore funding for the conference to current levels of $8,000.

    “I think that [Excel] is a huge priority for students, for about 12,000 students [who attend],” Muir Freshman Senator Nam Bui said.

    Stipends for A.S. executives and leaders of student organizations also experienced cuts, with college senators experiencing the most drastic decreases. Senators’ stipends were cut by almost $10,000, or 58 percent, for next year.

    A motion to cut senator stipends altogether failed to pass.

    Student Run Television did not experience any funding cuts in the final version of the budget. While satisfied, station manager Jared Lindo said extra money was needed to replace damaged equipment.

    Triton Taxi received a 44 percent increase in funding allocations compared to the budget passed last June. However, the program received supplemental funding this year from money originally allocated for other purposes.

    Overall, Pae felt that this year’s budget discussion and final approval process went well.

    “There was a lot of input [and] a lot of constructive concerns,” Pae said. “In light of the budget cuts, I feel that we need to be making sure that we’re using the money as best as we can.”

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