The business arm of the ASUC will soon report to a new campus office for stated reasons of aligning similar services and efficiency.
Currently, the ASUC Auxiliary sits in the Office of Administration and Finance and reports to Ron Coley, associate vice chancellor of business and administrative services. But as of July 1, the auxiliary will exist under the campus Division of Student Affairs and report to Jonathan Poullard, assistant vice-chancellor for student affairs and dean of students.
The move comes as the result of months of discussion within the administration, input from student leaders and a recommendation from the campus cost-cutting Operational Excellence initiative.
“Initially, the entire unit is moving under the Dean of Students, but I think we should anticipate that there will be changes based on the most appropriate or effective alignment that student affairs thinks the ASUC would need to fit in appropriately with the other organizations that are part of student affairs,” said Auxiliary Director Nadesan Permaul.
The auxiliary was formally incorporated on March 19, 1998, as part of the Commercial Activities Agreement between the ASUC and the UC Board of Regents. Its responsibilities include overseeing the financial activities of the ASUC as well as its commercial operations and administrative services.
According to Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Harry Le Grande, the final decision to move the auxiliary was made on May 3 by himself and John Wilton, vice chancellor for administration and finance.
Despite the significant shift, Le Grande said he does not anticipate any major changes to the auxiliary’s operations.
“My first desire would be to really look at service level and service delivery and enhancing that part of it,” Le Grande said. “I don’t know if there’s any money to save, because I don’t know enough about their operations. If there’s any synergy, I think we’re going to explore that.”
Graduate Assembly President Miguel Daal said the advantages of the auxiliary’s move have not been clearly communicated to students.
He said he was concerned that the move is occurring over the summer, when many students are not on campus, and that he would rather it wait until Aug. 15 to allow for “necessary involvement for students in the change.”
Furthermore, Daal called for a memorandum of understanding and a list of benefits that the change will bring to students.
“From the student point of view, it hasn’t been made clear what the benefit to students will be in this change,” Daal said. “They say that we will receive higher-quality service from the auxiliary, but they haven’t been specific as to what that means.”
But Le Grande said the change is beginning on July 1 because it will coincide with the start of the university’s fiscal calendar. A mechanism for making such changes later in the fiscal year, he said, is not in place.
Daal also cited concern that the move could make the student government susceptible to potential conflicts of interest that may arise due to the role of the student affairs office in matters of student discipline and student conduct.
Le Grande, however, did not agree.
He said the office does provide advice on such matters but that in the end, the decision rests solely with those to whom advice is given.
With the auxiliary’s move now just short of one month away, Le Grande said it will allow his position to better function as a voice for students and assist in his efforts to “own the student experience.”
“I’m actually looking forward to it,” he said in regard to the transition. “I think it’s going to be a good move, and I hope the students feel we’re not the people they need to fight.”
J.D. Morris is an assistant news editor.