UC Berkeley Graduate Assembly Budget Cuts
As requested, I'm posting some of the communications that have been circulated today regarding the GA's budget cuts to Boalt student groups, and tonight's GA meeting. I plead ignorance as to how/why this situation arose in the first place, when it was discovered, and what has been done thus far, but hopefully some commenters can chime in with additional information.
The following letter was sent yesterday to all Graduate Assembly Delegates:
To All Graduate Assembly Delegates:
We write as your fellow concerned Delegates. This summer, the Executive (Exec) Board has undertaken unlawful actions that threaten the future of our graduate student body and our student government. Through decisions calculated to subvert the GA Charter, by-laws, and delegate oversight, the Exec Board has attempted to usurp the power of the Delegate Assembly and circumvent our democratic role as representatives of our departments.
Over the summer, the Exec Board passed resolutions approving significant changes to the funding procedures without the approval of the Delegate Assembly. Board minutes discuss avoiding Delegate oversight, despite the role of the Delegate Assembly as the GA’s “ultimate authority” for all decisions (GA By-laws 1.1.3).
Existing by-laws require Delegate Assembly approval of all Funding Committee procedures (4.13, 4.15.4, 126.96.36.199, 6.7.3), yet the Exec Board took it upon itself to approve and implement a new funding system that gutted funding to all graduate student groups, with significant cuts to certain departments. These decisions threaten the very existence of the graduate body’s current student groups.
For example, last year groups could receive as much as $3300 per year. This year, no group will receive more than $1000, and some departments, no more than $550. Roughly half of the student resources budget is frozen in Contingency, while student group funding has been cut from 60% of the budget (2008-09) to less than 25% of the total budget.
On Thursday, September 16, we ask for your support in reversing the Exec Board’s unlawful decisions. We hope to resolve this Board-created crisis by requesting delegates vote against Resolution 1009(d): Resolution to Establish Funding Committee Procedures, which would validate the Exec Board’s improper actions. Instead, we ask delegates to vote in favor of Resolution 1009(c): Assembly Review of Executive Board Authorization in Violation of Graduate Assembly Bylaws, of Divisive Funding Procedures and Funding Reports.
The Exec Board’s actions seriously threaten the GA’s integrity, its Charter, its independent status with the University, and its 501(c)(3) status. Further, their actions attempt to silence the voices of thousands of graduate students by dismantling our democratic government. We hope to work together as a Delegate Assembly, along with the Exec Board, to resolve this crisis and ensure that we serve the needs of the graduate student body.
This morning, Mindi forwarded this letter from BHSA:
Fellow Berkeley Law Students,
In response to the dramatic slashing of law student activities funding by the U.C. Berkeley Graduate Assembly, the following letter was sent yesterday to all the Graduate Assembly Delegates [see letter above].
Please join us TODAY, 9/16, at 4:45 p.m. ON THE WEST TERRACE so that we may walk down together as a united law school delegation to the year's first Graduate Assembly meeting at Eshleman Hall.
These statistics have also been circulated through student-group listservs:
This morning you received a letter addressed to other graduate departments regarding craziness at the Graduate Assembly (GA), the representative government of all graduate students at UC Berkeley. The law school contributes over $44,000 in student fees to the GA each year, and this funding is distributed across departments and student organizations.
This year, the GA Executive Board made a number of changes to funding, in violation of the GA Bylaws (4.13, 4.15.4, 188.8.131.52, 6.7.3) without approval by the graduate delegates, who must make all final/ultimate decisions for the GA. These changes led to the following outcomes:
> Last year law student groups could receive up to $3300 per year. This year, no law group will receive more than $520 for the year.
>Services for underserved and vulnerable communities, such as Community Legal Outreach received $0, and the Workers' Rights Clinic received $50.
>Funding to the law school, on average, decreased by over 60%. Some groups received an 80-100% funding cut.
To reverse these funding cuts, please join us at tonight's GA meeting from 5:30-8PM.