Students will be voting on two measures in the 2017 referendum. Both measures concern student fees and require at least two-thirds of the votes in accordance with UC Santa Cruz campus election policy.
Measure 67, the Campus Student Government Fee Increase, would raise the $7 quarterly fee currently imposed by Measure 8 to $20 beginning fall quarter. The fee increase would fund the Student Union Assembly (SUA). The increase, like Measure 8, is permanent. Measure 8 has not been increased since it passed in 2003 and it is currently among the lowest fees across all UC campuses.
Student government oversees several matters relating to students, including hosting or providing funds for various student-run programs and campus events.
The fee increase is projected to raise about $614,000 over the course of the 2017-18 academic year. One-third of this total, about $203,000, will go to a return-to-aid component that covers the cost of the fee for students receiving financial aid. The remaining $411,000 will go toward a variety of projects including concerts, rallies, student initiated programs, direct action organization training and a food pantry.
The measure allocates funding to SUA representatives, minimum wage increases for interns and an annual increase to the SUA adviser’s salary and benefits package by 3 percent, in keeping with campus policy.
The Student Fee Advisory Committee (SFAC) agrees with the measure’s use of funds for the food pantry, but it could not reach a consensus on whether or not to support certain line items involving compensating certain SUA members.
The Intercollegiate Athletic Activities and Athletic Activities Access Fee, or Measure 68, proposes to enact a new quarterly fee of $38.50 for both undergraduate and graduate students to primarily pay for NCAA athletics. The measure, if passed, would also begin a financial partnership between the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) and the Office of Physical Education, Recreation and Sports (OPERS).
The fee was first proposed in 2016 at $90 per quarter. However, the Chancellor’s Office agreed to provide $500,000 in renewable funding, allowing the fee to be lowered to the proposed $38.50.
Fifty-nine percent of the fee would go toward funding UCSC’s intercollegiate athletics, generating a projected annual revenue of about $1.2 million for the program. Thirty-three percent of the fee, about $661,000 per year, would fund a return-to-aid component, covering the cost of the fee for certain students receiving financial aid.
The remaining 8 percent, about $160,000 annually, would fund the partnership between EOP and OPERS. This partnership would fund access for EOP students to fee-based athletics activities offered by OPERS.
The measure is sponsored by resolution of the Student Union Assembly, as well as Oakes Student Senate, Crown Student Senate, College Nine Senate, Kresge Parliament, Cowell Senate and Rachel Carson College Council. The SFAC abstained from comment on Measure 68.
If the measure does not pass, there will not be sufficient funding to maintain the current NCAA Division III programs at UCSC and the programs will end after next year’s seasons. OPERS would then assume NCAA’s debt of just over $500,000 if the measure does not pass. This would add to its existing debt of almost $800,000, accumulated over previous years. All positions related to NCAA, including 21 coaches, three administrative staff and four athletic trainers would be eliminated by fall of 2018. Not all of these positions are currently filled.