Interim Executive Vice Chancellor Herbie Lee agreed to a proposal by the Student Union Governance Board (SUGB) to split the Student Life Facility Fee Reserve Fund (SLFFRF). On April 19, Lee agreed with the said proposal to divide the reserve 60-40 between the Office of Physical Education Recreation and Sports (OPERS) and SUGB into shares of over $2 million and over $1.3 million respectively.
The SLFFRF was a reserve fund created by the sunsetting fee that funded the construction and maintenance of SUGB-run spaces including the Redwood Building, Student Media Center and OPERS facilities.
The use of the money was supposed to be monitored by an SLFFRF committee that included representatives from OPERS and SUGB. Yet the committee had not met in over 3 years.
“[The committee] was a […] way for students to get consulted on the money considering the money is what is part of the reserve in the SLFF Fee,” said SUGB chair Jhordy Gongora. “It’s also important […] because it is a reform of disrespect […] when OPERS is allowed to make decisions without our input.”
The SLFF reserve became an issue earlier in winter quarter when OPERS director Andrea Willer announced a planned $2.2 million pool renovation with the use of the SLFF reserve. OPERS had not consulted SUGB or anyone else on the reserve committee.
Students in SUGB responded by sending out a letter denouncing OPERS’ use of the funds. They also explained that SUGB had designed the new measure replacing the SLFF, Measure 66, with the intention of receiving 40 percent of the reserve.
The organizers met with Interim Vice Chancellor Herbie Lee to discuss the matter, but they were informed that the previous Executive Vice Chancellor Alison Galloway had already decided to split the money 73-27 instead of 60-40. This allocated almost $2.5 million to OPERS and only $918,000 to SUGB.
Within just two weeks, SUGB received endorsements from the majority of the college senates, Student Union Assembly (SUA), Engaging Education (e2) and Afrikan/Black Student Alliance (A/BSA) and many of the identity organizations. By April 19, two days before the mutually agreed deadline, Herbie Lee reversed the 73-27 split.
With the split settled, SUGB hopes to focus its efforts back on the organization’s core missions of providing student support, organizing events and managing the SUGB-run buildings and budgets.
“Something we wanted to stress since the beginning of the year […] was to provide programming for the vulnerable communities on campus […],” said SUGB chair Jhordy Gongora. “Much of that got pushed back because [the split] wasn’t resolved as quickly as we wanted it to.”