Lower Sproul Fee Committee made over a year after referendum

A committee charged with the oversight of the millions of dollars of student fees pouring into Lower Sproul Plaza’s renovation project is just now coming together, more than a year after it should have been formed.

Despite being prescribed by student referendum, the campus failed to put the committee together.

In spring 2010, UC Berkeley students overwhelmingly passed the B.E.A.R.S. Initiative, a student referendum that established a mandatory student fee to fund more than half of the plaza’s $223 million renovation and more than $280 million in debt payments.

Part of the referendum required the formation of a “Lower Sproul Fee Committee” for oversight of the fee’s collection and spending.

“The Fee Committee shall, throughout the duration of the mandatory student fee, review information on the amount and uses of the LS Project fee revenue, and recommend any changes to future year fee levels or uses,” the referendum reads.

Students began paying the fee last fall, but the committee was never formed. Former ASUC President Noah Stern and former Graduate Assembly President Miguel Daal said they submitted possible committee member names last year, but the campus never followed up.

UC Berkeley Associate Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer Erin Gore took “full responsibility” for the failure. She said she was working long hours and focusing on other components of the project and never pursued the matter.

“You can hold me accountable for that,” Gore said.

The committee’s members have been selected now, and Gore said they will meet before Thanksgiving break.

According to an Oct. 27 email from campus Executive Director for Space Management and Capital Programs Paula Milano to the future committee’s members, “we are waiting final confirmation for a few appointees.”

Members from the administration:
Paula Milano, co-chair of the student fee referendum committee, UC Berkeley executive director for space management and capital programs
Jodie Rouse, director of budget and financial planning in the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs
Mark Lucia, co-chair of the student fee referendum committee, director of student legal services and assessment
Marilyn Strager, interim director of the ASUC Auxiliary

Student members:
Harman Bawa, Committee on Student Fees representative
Anthony Kim, Graduate Assembly delegate
Mollie Epstein, Graduate Assembly treasurer
Vishalli Loomba, ASUC President
Chris Alabastro, ASUC Executive Vice President
Julia Joung, ASUC Academic Affairs Vice President