Graduate Assembly Passes Initiative on ASUC Funds

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The Graduate Assembly passed an initiative last night allowing students to vote on a proposition that would give the assembly a large chunk of ASUC money.

If the proposition is passed by students in the April elections, ASUC store profits will be distributed proportionally to the number of students served by the two groups. The proposition also includes a clause making the assembly financially liable for one-third of ASUC commercial activities should the ASUC fall into debt.

The proposition comes after the ASUC Senate refused to consider a bill Wednesday that would allocate one-third of its profits to the Graduate Assembly.

"The store is for the student body," said David Friedman, Graduate Assembly president. "Graduate students are one-third of that student body and the Graduate Assembly should therefore be apportioned one-third of the profits. We don't feel that the ASUC represents graduate students."

The two student government bodies signed a memorandum of understanding in 1998 giving the assembly full control over graduate student fees. But according to graduate students, this money is not enough.

Graduate student representatives hail the initiative as the next step in a series of failed attempts to compromise with the ASUC over allocation of funds.

"We have taken the high road on this issue," said Eli Ilano, Graduate Assembly external affairs vice president. "We went over the draft (of the ASUC bill) with most of (the senators). We changed the bill to address their concerns and to incorporate their suggestions and then they looked us straight in the eyes and said, 'No.'"

Ilano said undergraduate ASUC leadership is geared more toward making profits than serving graduate students.

"According to (ASUC President) Patrick Campbell, the responsibility of the ASUC is to increase the purchasing power of the ASUC," Ilano said. "Personally, I see student government as a way to serve students."

Campbell said he would have vetoed the ASUC bill if the senate had approved it.

"My stipulation is that (the Graduate Assembly has) every right to ask for the money but we will not give them one-third of the profits without some form of accountability back to the ASUC," Campbell said. "They have the right to propose a proposition, but if voters were to make an informed choice, they would vote against it."

He added that the ASUC was elected to represent all student interests.

"The Graduate Assembly is not another student government, it is a body that represents graduate student interests in the ASUC, and the ASUC is the body that represents all student interests," Campbell said. "We better serve students by managing and pooling our resources effectively."

The ASUC bill, sponsored by the political party Cal-SERVE, was initially killed in the ASUC Finance Committee. Attempts to bring back the bill at Wednesday's meeting failed by a vote of 9-6, just short of the 14 needed for a two-thirds majority.


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