Less than two weeks after its secession from the ASUC, the Graduate Assembly, or GA, has begun to face complications as a result of its newfound independence.
Last month, the GA attempted to transfer $10,000 from the joint ASUC-GA bank account to the Graduate Student Association account, prompting a dispute between the GA and ASUC Student Union Executive Director, according to outgoing GA President Kena Hazelwood-Carter.
Despite containing “ASUC” in its name, the ASUC Student Union, or ASUC SU, is actually a part of the campus administration. According to documents obtained by The Daily Californian, ASUC Student Union Executive Director Daryl Ansel “refused to release” the check upon the request of the GA Executive Board. After learning that the money was withdrawn anyway, Ansel demanded its return and ordered that the GA’s signatories be removed from the bank account.
This action to remove the signatory status of two executives — current President Hazelwood-Carter and Internal Vice President Jamie Lincoff — would “block the GA’s access to its own finances,” according to the documents.
The GA made a number of demands to Ansel, according to the documents. It requested that he place the GA’s funds in a separate account, explain the basis of his actions and cease to exert control over GA spending.
Despite several attempts to contact Ansel, he could not be reached for comment as of press time.
Tensions between the GA, which was established in the late 1960s, and the ASUC and administration have existed for several decades, with the assembly citing financial struggles and feeling of censorship among graduate students on campus.
When asked about the issue, the campus responded that it supports a mutual conclusion between the ASUC and the GA.
“The campus views this issue as internal to the ASUC student government,” said campus spokesperson Adam Ratliff. “The campus is engaged in encouraging the ASUC and the GA to reach a resolution, in partnership with the university.”
The relationship between the university, the ASUC and the GA is outlined in the Commercial Activities and Student Services Agreement, or CASSA. This agreement expresses the university’s obligation to “provide accounting services to the ASUC and GA,” according to Hazelwood-Carter.
Hazelwood-Carter alleged that the campus administration’s response to the situation contradicts CASSA, which states that the “maximum feasible amount of funding” should be given to the ASUC and GA for their student government programs and activities. According to Hazelwood-Carter, the campus is asserting “complete authority” over how and when funds are used.
ASUC Judicial Council Chair Maureen Ochi Sides also declined to comment on the situation.
“The cornerstone of ASUC and GA autonomy is fiscal autonomy,” said Hazelwood-Carter in an email. “The campus is essentially claiming the power to dictate the terms under which student representation is exercised on this campus.”