Here at UCSD your money is used in many ways. One major way is through your Student Activity fee which goes to a student government which no freshman voted for. You do not have a choice whether or not to pay the Student Activity fee, because if you don’t then you are no longer a student at UCSD. Let’s examine last year’s budget to see just what you were forced to pay for.
Associated Student Government (AS) gets 96.6% of their funding through your activity fee, a whopping $2,772,058 last year. Their expendable funds totaled $2,866,937. The two main programs your funds are used for are the Student Promoted Access Center for Education and Services (SPACES) which received $344,065, and the Student Sustainability Collective (SSC) which received $161,909. Both of them make the claim on their websites that they offer free services to students which is outrageous because AS is actually paying for them using your Activity fee. What are these services one may ask? SPACES pushes the ideals of social justice: progressive tax system, income redistribution, focusing more on equality of outcomes rather equality of opportunities. If you are the half of the American public that believes in individual liberty, that’s a pity because you’re forced to pay for ideals contrary to yours. According to their website, SPACES encourages community outreach and works in the community which means not only do must you involuntarily fund these ideas, but help push and propagandize them to UCSD students and the community using your tuition whether you agree with them or not.
Meanwhile, the SSC works hard to ensure that everything on campus is going to be more expensive by banning the sale of water bottles and styrofoam on campus. Apparently they haven’t stopped to think of the consequences of this, or maybe they have and they don’t care what the cost is to you. Companies compete for your business by means of lowering prices to make their products more attractive. With the loss of plastic and styrofoam, the cost for your food will increase as businesses on campus are forced to turn to more expensive alternatives. Essentially you are paying to force yourself to pay more for food and other items. Remember though, these are advertised as free services and programs according to their websites.
With SPACES and SSC paid for, the “expendable funds after referendum allocation” is $2,360,963. What to waste money on next, says AS. Let’s fund the office of the president with $34,350 so that they can give speeches and go to “council mixers.” After that minor binge, it’s time to waste money on the office of student life, the people who put on events. They spend $18,000 on three pancake breakfasts alone, but that isn’t nearly the biggest waste. That award belongs to the Sun God Festival which soaked up $530,000 with a contingency of an additional $20,000. As happens every year, AS ran out of student wristbands for the student body so if you still wanted to go you would have to buy a ticket just like alumni, friends, staff, and faculty have to. On top of this, AS puts on five Bear Gardens a year where they give out “free” food and drinks. The “free” cost of these is a total of $72,500 and you’d better get their early because they don’t have enough for the students that fund these events. The overall budget for Office of Student Affairs was $857,009, which you paid for whether you attended these events or not.
The Office of Finance and Resources spent a more modest $657,978 going to things like “saferides” and the Holiday Airport Shuttle. If you don’t drink, or drink responsibly by finding a friend or taxi to get you home, that’s too bad – you paid for saferides whether you used it or not. If you don’t need to go to the airport on the holidays or were a responsible studentand found your own way to the airport, too bad! You paid for it already. The Office of External Affairs was much easier on our wallets by graciously allowing us to only pay $62,000 for their budget, which included $43,500 for their “Travel and Conferences.”
Unfortunately we cannot go through every item of spending, but another important item is administration allocations which accounted for a total of $661,795. Only student life accounts for more money in the budget. Administration means all the salaries and materials for AS. For example, $3,840 for the A.S. President’s Assistant, $39,300 for A.S. Fund Manager Assistant, $48,012 for Graphic Studio Artist, $50,000 for Event Manager, and $156,974 for their benefits.
This brings us to our last, and my favorite, budgetary matter; council stipends. This is where AS gets to pay themselves (through your student fees) for a job poorly done. Going down the list we see $10,000 for the President, $5,250 each for Vice President of Student Life, Vice President of External Affairs, Vice President of Finance and Resources, $3,500 each for AVP – Academic Affairs, Concerts and Events, Student Organizations, Student Services, Enterprise Operations, Student Advocacy, Diversity Affairs, Athletic Relations, College Affairs, Local Affairs, $300 for 30 Senators, and so many, many more for a grand total of $115,493 of your money.
After spending all of last year’s funding, AS this year will start out $110,567 in the negative. Even though freshman and transfer students didn’t go to this school last year, they will be paying for it. There are many lessons to be learned, so don’t believe everything you’re told. Be sure to look everywhere for lessons including the ineptitude of government and agencies that want to try and give you something for “free” when it’s not – it’s robbery with the full force of government behind it.