Referendum on Associated Students Membership Fee Increase
This spring, the Associated Students UCSF (ASUC) is sponsoring a referendum to increase the quarterly ASUC membership fee by $11 All students currently enrolled in the Schools of Dentistry, Medicine and Pharmacy are eligible to vote online from April 1-12, at the same time as the ASUC Executive Board election.
All professional students are encouraged to participate in this referendum and to cast an informed vote.
According to ASUCSF President Doug Jacobs, this year’s Board has had to come to terms with some harsh financial realities. “No one likes the idea of raising a fee, but this is the one fee that directly benefits students through RCO funding, campus-wide events and opportunities for community-building,” he said.
The current fee is $17 per quarter. There has been no increase in the ASUC fee since 2002.
Considering that the UCSF fee is less than at any other UC that supports student groups, it seems that financial realities were inevitable. According to the referendum materials, Jacobs said, the increase is needed simply to maintain current levels of funding.
The proposed fee is $28 per quarter (not including summer when there is no fee charged) and reflects the increased use of funding by the Registered Clubs and Organizations (RCOs), from 67% to 99%. Because there are 120 current RCOs funded for diverse programs, events and interests, demand has remained high for the funding ASUC offers. Since 2010, the ASUC has dipped into its reserves to maintain funding levels, and now that reserve is depleted.
One-quarter of the ASUC membership fee goes back to each of the professional schools for their use in funding school-specific programs. If the referendum passes, this will benefit the schools of Dentistry, Medicine and Pharmacy in proportion to their enrollment numbers.
If the referendum fails to pass, the ASUC will confront financial reality by cutting funding to groups and for campus-wide events by 25%, to prevent deficit spending.
Students will each receive a dedicated email with a link to vote from April 1-12. The ASUC website (asuc.ucsf.edu/node/469) has posted detailed information regarding the referendum process and encourages all students to read and understand what they are voting on.
According to Jacobs, the current ASUC Board has thoroughly discussed the referendum, and members are fully prepared to talk to the students they represent to answer questions or clarify any aspects of the voting.