Op-Ed: How Associated Students Will Cease to Exist Under Jonathan Abboud's Fiscal Plan
Disclaimer: In the past two years I have served on AS Senate, AS Queer Commission, and as a Board Member of the United States Student Association. Although I ran with a party two years ago, I do not affiliate with any individual party. I have written as an individual without partisan influence or contribution. I do not represent the opinion of any entities other than myself in stating these views.
To start off, I am a fourth-year taking five classes and working two jobs, on top of having a fellowship and being an officer of a student org. I’ve stated all of this to let you know that I have a lot of other things I could be doing than writing this, but I feel that some things need necessary clearing up. Mostly, this “It All Comes Back To You” Finance Fiasco.
I’ll start with addressing Jonathan Abboud’s comment to an earlier Op-Ed:
“The purpose behind idea to refund the left over money at the end of year in AS back to the students is to:
1. Discourage hasty last minute spending of extra funds during spring quarter
2. Keep AS accountable with spending
3. Strengthen the mentality that the money in the AS budget is the students’ money not AS’s money.”
1. The supposed “hasty last minute spending” is a scenario that Abboud has based on the concept of refunding fees, which is not a reality in AS. This possibility of excessive spending at the end of the year is already mediated with the annual AS budget process, which must be approved by AS Finance Board, AS President, and finally the AS Senate.
2. Associated Students has pages of legislation on how spending is held accountable besides the above mentioned budget process. The most engaged form of this is the fact that the Senate also approves ALL AS spending in their weekly meetings, which deters excessive and wasteful spending. This is why we elect them. Does Abboud have no faith in these elected senators?
3. I’d like to look into how Abboud has used student money, namely the ping-pong table that Abboud purchased with AS funds last year. To me this is less of a productive use of student fees and more of a furnishing of AS as Abboud’s personal clubhouse.
If this is all too personal, let’s just look at the facts:
The student fees that are not used by the end of each year roll over into a suspense account where they gain interest for two years before returning into the active AS Budget. Without Boards, Commissions and Committees (BCCs) AS costs just about 1 million to operate annually. The money for basic operation of Associated Students comes from interest accrued from the suspense account combined with other interest accruing accounts. Refunding this money would, over the next two years, drain AS’s operating budget. Without this budget AS would lose its staff and facilities. Soon after, the BCCs would cease to exist due to the loss of spaces and advisors. Essentially, Jonathan Abboud’s “It All Comes Back To You” is a slow and painful death sentence for Associated Students.