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Nap Time!!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

And far more important than any of this other nonsense is the proposal for commercial revenue and expense sharing between the ASUC and GA. Let me preface all of this with the reminder: Graduate students pay nothing to the Senate, but have full voting rights there. Keep that in mind when measuring the fairness of the proposal. (One of the resolved clauses claimed, perhaps ironically, that the goal was for "commercial activity revenue to be shared as equally and fairly as student fees currently are.")

The basics of the proposal is to have any commercial revenue available beyond $274,000 be given to the GA, up to the proportion of students who are graduate students. In exchange, the GA would pay a proportion equal to the proportion of commercial revenue they get for Attorney Fees, the Legal Defense Fund, and elections (unless the current MOU's amount, 12% or the proportion of grad students who vote, is higher).

Mysteriously, the revenue sharing and expense sharing aspects are provided in different bills. The expense sharing aspect is contingent on the revenue sharing, but the reverse isn't true. I certainly hope the ASUC will pass both bills or neither, but the only reason I can think of for keeping the bills separate is that they won't.

The minimum dollar amount means the ASUC is invariably giving more money to the GA then the GA is contributing in expenses. This doesn't itself make it bad, but I just want everyone to be clear on this point. The GA argues that, with this agreement, graduate students will suddenly care about making money from commercial activities, and since they're so much smarter and stay around so much longer, their investment will provide a huge boost to commercial revenues. Anyone familiar with graduate students knows this is utter nonsense. (The ASUC's pathetic ability to interest undergraduate students is huge compared to the GA's ability to interest grad students)

(Two other aspects involve making the ASUC Auxiliary's monetary information available to the ASUC and GA and limiting the rate at which the Auxiliary increases spending. I believe this means they'll need the agreement of the university administration and the Store Operations Board to get it passed)

Remember that the GA is far more proficient at advancing its own interests than the ASUC Senate. That's how free representation occurred, how they reduced their elections bill, and how they've gained more power with every MOU. That's why this proposal needs to be approached with suspicion and caution. As I noted, I don't buy that the GA can actually do anything special to boost revenues (which hover around $0 right now, I believe), so I feel like they're trying to piggyback on any eventual turnaround to get credit.

The proposal isn't horrendous, though the minimum amount is a way to insulate themselves from having to pay the consequences of any failure, while ensuring they'll be able to reap any benefit. What I would suggest to the Senate, which I'm pretty sure will eventually agree with the proposal, is to go through the budget and find every line item that could be considered to be a benefit to both undergrads and grad students and try to add it to the list of things on which expenses will be shared. I'm not really hoping for a "fair" outcome, because the free ASUC representation issue eliminates any possibility of that. So saying this is better than the current process doesn't really make sense (unless you're in the GA!). Still, the ASUC needs to grow some and stand up for undergrads for a change, and extract as much as they can from the GA when making these kinds of agreements, because that's exactly the way the GA approaches the ASUC.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 2/25/2009 10:41:00 PM #
Comments (5)
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This is interesting. When I worked on the first MOU, we purposefully left commercial revenue off limits. This is an issue of who runs the operation and it has always been the Store Operations Board, with some input from the senate. If the GA really wants those funds, then they need to go to the ASUC Senate just like every single student group does. Another point is that the ASUC Senate already shares a fair portion with the GA since Graduate Students are part of many of the student groups funded by the Senate.

Quick correction beetle, the University administration has no say in this matter. It is a completely internal matter. It can be solved with a simple vote of the senate and then the Store Operations Board. They could make it a referendum to add it to the constitution, but just like the previous agrement, it was not necessary (except for the Judicial Council section).
The resolution makes many references to the Chancellor having authority, especially in terms of Auxiliary spending, so I sort of figured he'd have to approve this. Plus, it places requirements on the Auxiliary, which I consider to be part of the administration. Can the SOB place structural obligations on the Auxiliary without administration approval?

(If you haven't seen the proposed bill, send me an e-mail and I'll send it to you)
My first reaction is that the SOB is the only administration approval that this needs to have (I doubt the Chancellor really wants to get involved in this). If its funding, I dont see how its a structural change since you are just dictating where the commercial revenue funds should go.
The extra features of the bill are what I think require administration approval. For instance, they essentially add GA approval to the list of approvals needed for a spending increase beyond 5%+CPI for the Auxiliary.
Now that is just sounds like they are giving too much. The GA already has a voice in the SOB. But yeah, that does sound like something more complicated.

If I were them, I would have just told the GA that any SOB business was off limits. They are welcomed to negotiate other internal ASUC-only issues but this is setting a bad precedent.

Why not just have the ASUC Senate distribute a percentage of commercial revenue to the GA annually? (this would keep it within the ASUC)
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