Millberry Union Budget in Trouble


[Originally published in Synapse - The UCSF student newspaper, Feb. 20, 1975] The Millberry Union (MU) Budget Committee projected a loss for the union of about $22,000 for the first six months of this fiscal year at a Tuesday meeting. The loss represents about one per cent of the total MU budget. “Financially speaking,” said Grady Fort, chairperson of the MU Board of Governors. “Millberry Union is in a state of emergency.”

Peter Lindbergh, director of student services, recommended that the committee draw up contingency plans as soon as possible.

“The charge of better fiscal management has been laid out in no uncertain terms by the chancellor,” said Lindbergh.

Committee member Al Greenberg said that the deficit has been created by factors beyond the union's control, such as wage increases, rather than by fiscal mismanagement.

“What we need and deserve,” Greenberg said, “is a $30,00 or $40,000 subsidy from the chancellor each year for the food service.”

The two major sources of financial problems for the union are salaries and the cost of food and merchandise sold by MU, which have been up by inflation.

According to the most recent budget projections, the bookstore will take in $22,000 less than was originally projected. Expenses for the food service, which recently faced vendor cost increases of 40 to 60 per cent, will also exceed original budget projections.

To counteract some of the inflationary cost increases, the food service raised prices in the MU cafeteria early this month. In order to cut expenses in the recreation department, a five cent charge for towel usage will be instituted Feb. 24.

Millberry Union Director Bob Alexander suggested other minor budget-trimming measures such as cutting travel funds, postage, and complementary use of the Food Service for MU Board activities.

“The steps we take,” said Alexander, “should not affect the functioning of MU as a college union. We don't want to cut off programs that pay off in people value.”

He also suggested that the union pursue the possibility of a campus subsidy for MU. He said that the student unions of some other UC campuses are already subsidized by their campuses.

Fort recommended that the committee work on generating funds from within the union as a first priority, since past requests for campus funding have been denied.

“Thinking about subsidies is fine for the future,” said Fort, “but this situation requires immediate action.”

Susan Graham, MU program representative, objected to a suggestion by Fort that the union begin charging for programs which are now free to students. She said that registration fees and endowment funds, rather than MU funds, now cover the costs of programming.

“Our money doesn't come from Millberry in the first place, so why should we charge to make up the deficit?” she said.

Alexander said that pinball machines, which will soon be installed in MU, may make some money for the ailing student union. He called for a meeting next week to review the budget and discuss contingency plans.