With Week 6 almost out of the way, it is once again time to break down the A.S. budget. Taking a look at a proposed budget for this past summer, A.S. Council did an excellent job balancing the Summer 2014 funding under the capable direction of Vice President of Finance and Resources Igor Geyn. However, merely balancing its budget doesn’t let A.S. Council off the hook regarding the flagrant misallocation of its allotted funds; it must still answer for several misuses of large portions of its money.
More than a few items on the budget have questionable utility to both the student body and A.S. functions. A prime example is A.S. Council’s obsession with flapjacks. Of the $27,950 in student fees that go to the Campus Affairs Office, a whopping $22,500 is dedicated to the quarterly A.S. Pancake Breakfasts. We wonder whether it really takes $22,500 to make pancakes. This leaves only $5,450 for far more vital functions within A.S. Council, such as leadership development, the council retreat and A.S. visibility. A.S. Council is only hurting itself by indulging in its quarterly dough fest.
Disparity in stipends is another issue. A.S. President Robby Boparai receives a stipend of $10,000 — nearly double that of the rest of his cabinet. With total funding of $174,738, this means that he pockets over 5 percent of the A.S. budget. Boparai should definitely consider taking a pay cut and sending that money to more useful programs, like student organization funding.
On the flip side of the stipend disparity, the UCSD Guardian learned that the A.S. MOVES Transportation Commission has seen large slashes to its budget. MOVES is arguably one of the more valuable organizations in A.S. Council; it has produced several successful projects in the past year under Director of Urban Development and Transportation Kyle Heiskala. Most notably, Spring Quarter 2014 saw the passing of the transportation referendum, which put to rest an 18-month fight over the issue.
In light of these successes, the fact that A.S. Council is willing to cut funding to an organization that holds such widespread influence across campus is a troubling sign for potential future projects from MOVES and other groups like it. With cuts like these, completion of projects like a bike sharing program and a summer bus program might now be in jeopardy. If these cuts are to see the light of day, A.S. Council needs to realize that groups like MOVES that are actively improving campus must retain funding equal to, if not more than, they had enjoyed in previous years.
The lesson is this: Too much money is going toward pancake breakfasts and keeping its president happy. A.S. Council has been responsible with its money so far, but if it wants to remain sustainable, it needs to be smarter with it.