Members of the ASU use students money to pay for conferences.
By Zain Abouraia, Opinion Editor and Jhanelle Rivera, Editor in Chief
Mandatory student representa- tion and optional Associated Student Organization fees have paid for the 14 members of the Associated Student Union to take trips to three conventions this semester, costing more than $20,000, while students struggle to stay afloat with the rising costs of college.
Every academic year, students are charged a mandatory $1 student representation fee, this year totaling more than $18,000. Additionally, the ASU asks students for an option- al ASU membership fee of $10 per semester to join clubs, participate in student events or in student govern- ment, totaling $57,936. The two fees combined for a total of $75,936 this semester.
According to ASU Treasurer, John Reyes, the ASU spent a total of $10,345 on a trip to Sacramento for a student government conference using money from the ASO fee. They have also spent a combination of $11,214 on trips to Monterey Bay and New Orleans to attend the General Assembly and ASACC conferences all expenses.
“We have to write and be accountable for everything we learn every committee we go to, we have to write a paragraph with all of our notes and hand that to our advisors,” said
Alexia Johnson, ASU president, refer- ring to what they learned from these conferences. “Most of it was parlia- mentary procedures and we didn’t know how to go about it, he came in and taught us about Robert’s rules and the brown act, we learned how to have effective meetings.”
ASU President Johnson stated that effective meetings help the ASU run smoother, but students cannot directly benefit from those meet- ings, no matter how efficient they run. While the ASU cannot pay for everything, there are other ways they
can contribute to the student body. Textbook waivers and scholarships, provided by ASU money, would aid students more than solitary trips exclusive to the ASU or buying a new costume for the mascot.
“That’s where the business of transparency comes in, if they were a corporate entity or a non-profit, they would have to they would have to fork all that information out,” said commu- nication major David Margolis. “Just [make] it available online, where you had this budget you’ve put it towards this list of activities or operations and
where did that money go, I’m paying ten or fifteen per semester, they should have the information available.”
Many students are unaware that the ASU will allow [student clubs] to fill out a budget request form to fund legitimate academic purposes, such as going to conferences and presenting research out-of-state.
“That’s something I do need to do a better job of,” said John Reyes, ASU treasurer. “Is getting the word out there to students that this money is available to them. That’s something I need to work on a lot more.”