ASUC Senate committee corrects information in website bill

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An ASUC Senate bill proposing a $15,000 revamping of the ASUC website was updated to correct information regarding the source of the funding at a finance committee meeting Monday.

A previous draft of the bill, proposed at the Jan. 28 senate meeting, stated that the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Student Services and Fees, or CACSSF, would provide the $15,000 needed to hire local creative studio Front Group Design to create a new ASUC website. CACSSF, a committee of students and staff that decides which projects and services to fund with the $486 semesterly fee that students pay, will give $10,000 to the project.

“It happened because of everyone assuming that things are right, because why wouldn’t they be?” said Student Action Senator Hannah Frankl. “If someone happens to write the wrong number, then you have a problem. It would be so inefficient to check up on everything. It wasn’t one person’s fault.”

The finance committee decided to use $5,000 from the ASUC Carry Forward Holding Fund, the ASUC’s surplus account. The committee had planned to spend $8,000 on a consultation project with the student-run Berkeley Business Society to simplify the process of funding student groups, Frankl said at the meeting. Instead, they decided Monday to budget $3,000 for student consulting group The Berkeley Group, with which they have not yet signed a contract. The $5,000 that the ASUC will save on consulting costs will go toward the website overhaul project.

“We’re not taking money away from any organization,” Frankl said. “We’re using existing pools of money, which would have been used anyway. The last thing we want is to put a financial burden on students.”

The website was redesigned last year by that year’s web secretary, who changed the platform from WordPress to Drupal, according to Joe Wilson, the ASUC marketing and communications director. The new website was created on top of the old website, which means the WordPress version of the website still exists and contains updated information.

Wilson said this limits the types of features the ASUC can put on its current website, and according to ASUC Web Secretary James Uejio, that also means many forwarding URLs do not work. Front Group Design will build a new website from scratch using WordPress, he said.

“(Student developers) don’t do a very amazing job,” Wilson said. “Students don’t have time or capacity to devote themselves to the project.”

Uejio hopes that because the ASUC is contracting a professional company, the website will be able to last many years.

According to the project’s funding proposal, the site will be finished in March and released during the first week of April. The senate was set to vote on the bill at its meeting Wednesday.

Sonja Hutson covers student government. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @SonjaHutson.