A.S. Council Seeks Fiscal Independence

This separate section would be a 501(c)(3) group — a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization — unaffiliated with UCSD. Under this plan, current council operations would continue as is, but the auxiliary section would be independent from the university and therefore not subject to its restrictions.

“A.S. does enjoy the benefits of being a university department,” Gupta said. “But being a university department also creates certain restrictions on our efforts.”

The council is not required to pay for services such as liability protection and meeting space; however, it cannot offer services covered by other departments, such as building off-campus homes, because the housing provision is already covered by Housing, Dining and Hospitality. Gupta said this prevents possibilities like a Greek row at UCSD.

The plan is modeled after UC Berkeley’s student government, where the main governing body is a 501(c)(3) organization, and a smaller governing board is affiliated with the university. However, Gupta plans to instate the opposite arrangement — with A.S. Council remaining a UC affiliate complemented by a 501(c)(3) group — to preserve university funding.

To fund this auxiliary branch, Gupta plans to propose a voluntary student-fee referendum similar to the model used by student organization CALPIRG, in which students are charged only after completing a form.

Gupta said he does not expect administrative roadblocks in implementation of this proposal.

“This model has already been applied on campus, most notably in the case of the Alumni Association,” he said. “Any roadblocks the administration provided would be inconsistent with current policies.”

A special committee will be created to clarify the logistics — such as voluntary-fee rate — of the plan. Gupta hopes to finalize his proposal by Week Five so it can be included on the Spring Quarter election ballot.

Readers can contact Angela Chen at [email protected].