Fee-Focused Meeting Touts Tuition Freezes, Grove’s Growth

    A former gubernatorial candidate dropped in at last night’s
    brief A.S. Council meeting to provide his own two cents about financial
    difficulties facing students.

    Earl Warren
    alumnus Daniel Watts took
    the floor during public input to speak about the Grove Caffe’s monetary woes. Watts
    suggested that the council dig into its mandated reserves — an “emergency fund”
    for A.S. enterprises-in-need that he said was holding a tidy $800,000 — to buy
    out the eatery’s $66,000 debt.

    There wasn’t a discernible consensus among councilmembers
    about the suggestion, although the thought of spending $66,000 on a coffee shop
    may have shocked any uninitiated Starbucks customers in attendance.

    Associate Vice President of Enterprise Operations Chelsea Maxwell
    elaborated on the cafe’s financial health, saying that necessary improvements
    and equipment purchases were to blame for the growth of its original $24,000
    debt at the beginning of the school year.

    Vice President of Finance and Resources Sarah Chang also
    chimed in, saying that the Grove is now either breaking even or turning a
    profit on a monthly basis, and implied that the cafe would be able to work off
    its own debt. Buyer beware: That $66,000 may be coming to a croissant near you.

    Watts, who graduated in 2006, also
    took the opportunity to tout his unsuccessful campaign for California
    governor during the 2003 recall election. His gubernatorial ambitions focused
    solely on the issue of rising college tuition costs, which has come into the
    mainstream news once again in light of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s recently
    proposed state budget cuts.

    Watts endorsed the efforts of the
    student group Tuition Relief Now to put an initiative on the ballot in November
    that would cap tuition from rising
    faster than inflation.

    Vice President of External Affairs Dorothy Young kept the
    cause of rising tuition afloat by introducing the council to the “budget
    postcard campaign,” which aims to bombard state legislators with signed
    postcards from concerned students. During question time, Earl Warren College
    Senator Peter Benesch asked Vice President of Student Life Donna Bean about how
    the planning process for next quarter’s Sun God festival was progressing.
    Benesch raised the question in light of a controversial report regarding the
    handling of the annual event.

    Bean was pleased to report that the Sun God advisory
    committee had surprisingly reached a consensus between its administrators and
    student representatives. She also reported that the logistics for the event had
    been reworked but teased the council by saying that she couldn’t release any
    more information, including the headliner act, for a few more weeks.

    Near the end of the meeting, Associate Vice President of
    Athletic Relations Stephanie Chang reminded councilmembers about their upcoming
    participation in the Row for the Cure fundraising and boat racing event this
    weekend and caught some of the students off guard by asking them to sign some
    last-minute paperwork.

    “You just need to sign a form that says if you drown it’s
    not our fault,” she said.

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