The ASUC Senate passed the final 2018-2019 Annual Budgeting and Spaces Allocation, or ABSA, budget, locking in how much funding each Registered Student Organization, or RSO, will obtain in the next academic year.
In this budget, the group that obtained the most funding is the ASUC Student Union Program, Entertainment and Recreation Board, or SUPERB, which is an ASUC-chartered program rather than an RSO. The ABSA budget also solidified money allocations toward the bridges Multicultural Resource Center and seven Recruitment and Retention Centers, or RRCs, the funding for which was threatened in a previous ASUC meeting.
The ASUC’s chief financial officer uses an algorithm to determine initial allocations, and the ASUC Finance Committee then hears testimony from RSOs that submit appeals, according to outgoing ASUC Senator and Finance Committee chair Nuha Khalfay.
“Finance Committee can kind of serve as the equalizer because we are not using an algorithm — we are listening to personal testimony,” Khalfay said. “We are looking at what the clubs do with their money.”
Some clubs, such as SUPERB and the Open Computing Facility, are chartered, and= certain funding restrictions that typically apply to RSOs do not apply to chartered programs, allowing for SUPERB to be allocated $130,000. SUPERB used to be a function within the ASUC, but it was later decided that SUPERB needed independent leadership, according to Khalfay.
Funding for RSOs is determined partly by an organization’s “years of standing” in the ASUC — how long the organization has been sponsored by the ASUC. Certain RSOs that obtain more funding, such as the UC Rally Committee, which obtained $36,500, do so because they have been ASUC-sponsored for many years — the UC Rally Committee boasts 117 years of ASUC sponsorship.
Both SUPERB and the UC Rally Committee also hold “high-cost, high-yield” events, according to Khalfay, leading to an inflated budget.
“Those are all high-cost, high-yield events. … They cost a lot of money, but a lot of people attend them,” Khalfay said. “You’re programming at such a large scale. … That’s why they get a lot of money.”
Khalfay said there was a limited budget for the Finance Committee to increase funding for RSOs after appeals; she added that more than 50 RSOs appealed this year. One such RSO was the Queer Alliance Resource Center, or QARC, which was initially allocated $18,000, according to QARC Director Amir Amerian.
After appeals, however, QARC’s funding was increased to $25,000, which is reflected in the final ABSA allocations. Amerian attributed the funding increase to community efforts and said the coalition between bridges and QARC has benefited both groups in that the groups were “more powerful” when working together.
“Communities did a real good job of following up,” Amerian said. “We know bridges does a really good job at showing up to ASUC senate meetings and Finance Committee meetings when necessary. Being in a coalition with them, we really learned a lot.”