Oversights

University Issues: The Committee on Student Fees and Budget Review must work to fulfill its role for the campus community.

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It's embarrassing to be behind after having 38 years to prepare.

UC Berkeley's Committee on Student Fees and Budget Review has not been complying with the guidelines established by university policy. Worse, while other UC campus committees have met the longstanding expectation to make recommendations to administrators, UC Berkeley's has not even gotten that far.

Ideally, the committee should enable the campus community to influence how these fees are spent. In May, the UC Board of Regents revised their rules so that each campus chancellor should consult and actively consider recommendations for fee use that were already being compiled by committees on other campuses.

While these guidelines are nonbinding, UC Berkeley's committee is only one of two campuses that has yet to comply. The other, UC Merced, just formed its committee. Their first meeting was this month. In contrast, UC Berkeley's committee has been in place since 1972.

This campus committee should be playing a crucial role in recommending how $30 million yearly in student service fees are spent. However, its members have not even managed to put together a plan for administrative review. Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Harry Le Grande said there is no reason for the campus committee to make recommendations since the fee levels have remained the same since the policy was revised. Yet just because accountability has not been established in past processes does not mean that the committee should not try to present feedback now.

The committee's composition also does not adequately represent the student body. Among 13 members, only one is a graduate student, even though graduate students make up roughly one-third of the campus population. Now, the ASUC is seeking more control over the committee for better representation. While we think this would be the wrong move - the committee should remain as autonomous as possible - something must be adjusted to make the committee more accurately reflect the student body.

There is no excuse why this committee appears to have failed to fulfill its most fundamental duty. It is time to catch up with other campuses.






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