Wednesday, May 23

New budget will raise food prices


The Associated Students UCLA board of directors presented at an
all-day meeting Saturday next year’s preliminary budget which
includes a fee referendum that has not yet passed, as well as
increases to food prices on campus.

ASUCLA management said food prices would go up to generate
additional revenue regardless of whether the fee referendum ““
named SAFE for its relevance to students, activities, facilities
and employees ““ passes during elections this week.
Undergraduate students can start voting on candidates and referenda
at 7 p.m. today until Thursday at 7 p.m.

“If we were to not ever put a price increase, we would go
out of business with or without SAFE,” said Bob Williams, the
association’s interim executive director.

At Saturday’s meeting, student members of the ASUCLA board
of directors requested management lessen the increase in food
prices, which was originally set to be an average of 4.5
percent.

The original 4.5 percent price increase was calculated to raise
food sales an additional $199,000 from last year.

Because student board members requested the increase to be cut
in half, ASUCLA management has been trying to find a way to make
next year’s budget with a 2.25 percent increase in food
prices to present to the board later this month, Williams said.

Any increase to food prices must be approved by the
student-majority board of directors, Williams said at the budget
meeting.

SAFE would increase the fees students pay toward ASUCLA to help
finance renovations to facilities and increases to student wages
and student programming support.

Association fees go toward ASUCLA, which provides services like
food and retail operations and meeting spaces.

Within the University of California system, student association
fees vary between campuses while student fees are the same
throughout UC campuses.

Some students feel uneasy in paying higher food prices in
addition to paying higher association fees, like third-year
mathematics student Chris Wada, who thinks it makes sense for food
prices to stay about the same if association fees are higher.

“But if they have to get the funding somehow, I’d be
willing to pay a little extra,” Wada said.

Rich Delia, ASUCLA’s finance director, said there is
nothing in the fee’s language that stated prices would always
remain constant if a referendum is passed and noted that price
increases are factored into the association’s budget every
year due to increases in the price of other goods like oil.

“I know we never said there wouldn’t be a price
increase,” Delia said. “That’s unreasonable to
expect.”

The bulk of the fee increase would go toward renovations of
ASUCLA facilities, which association management says could decrease
prices in the long run.

Delia said that renovations are done to increase or maintain
customer counts and if customer counts increase at ASUCLA
facilities because of renovations, the price increase would not
have to be as much.

“Having newer facilities enables you to keep your prices
more competitive and also keep prices down,” Delia said.

A lack of renovation leads to a decline in sales every year,
said Roy Champawat, associate director of ASUCLA Food Services at
the budget meeting.

“The restaurant industry lives on renovation
upgrades,” Champawat said, adding that many restaurants are
renovated at least once every 10 years.

Panda Express, a third-party restaurant that rents space at
Ackerman Union, went through renovations for the first time last
year since the restaurant opened in 1993.

The ASUCLA-run Bombshelter, which the association plans to
demolish to make room for a South Campus Student Center, has not
gone through major renovations in almost 40 years.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someoneShare on Google+Share on Reddit

Comments are supposed to create a forum for thoughtful, respectful community discussion. Please be nice. View our full comments policy here.