ASUC Officials Plan to Dispute Fund Reallocation

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ASUC Interest Fund

Paul Edison answers questions from Alexandra Wilcox about the administration's decision to take the interest fund away from the ASUC Auxilary's revenue funds.

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ASUC officials have delayed taking action to protest a move by UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau that they said violates a 1998 agreement between the student government and the campus.

The plan to take approximately $50,000 from an ASUC Auxiliary account had been criticized by ASUC officials since it was announced in May. Officials said in June that they would send a formal letter to Birgeneau arguing that the disputed funds should belong to the student government.

The campus would take the accrued interest from the auxiliary reserve- normally used to cover auxiliary operating costs-to help offset UC Berkeley's budget shortfall. Birgeneau also introduced plans to draw from similar funds throughout campus.

Though a draft letter opposing the fund reallocation has already been written, Graduate Assembly President Miguel Daal said Tuesday that it has not yet been sent because further discussion on the issue is needed with Birgeneau. He added that the issue will be brought up again once the fall semester begins.

"It's most likely we will send the letter," Daal said. "But the letter's content depends on his answers to some questions that we might be asking."

Daal declined to elaborate on what specific questions he would pose to the chancellor.

According to ASUC Auxiliary Director Nadesan Permaul, the auxiliary is a campus entity and is subject to the same policies as other campus departments.

"The chancellor is not making an

exception ... for other departments," Permaul said. "He is doing this because of the crisis the campus is facing due to the state budget and reductions faced by the campus."

Birgeneau could not be reached for comment as of press time.

ASUC President Will Smelko said the the main issue at hand is whether there is a violation of the ASUC's autonomy.

"We really do believe that the Commercial Activities Agreement ... outlined explicitly that the auxiliary will hold this money, and it will be used for the benefit of the students," he said.

The 1998 agreement with the university established the auxiliary to manage the ASUC's commercial spaces and ultimately reports to Birgeneau.

Smelko added that losing the funds could damage the trust between ASUC officials and the administration.

"Decisions like this come off as campus involved in student affairs and taking this money away," he said. "This doesn't help diminish the trust issue."

While the chancellor's action would not directly affect the student government's budget this year, Graduate Assembly Budget Officer Nish Rajan said reallocating funds from other areas of the auxiliary would worsen its already "precarious" financial situation.

"You don't feel comfortable to have a big chunk of your budget away for a long period of time, even if it just acts as a reserve," Rajan said.


Contact Paul Edison at [email protected]

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