An undergraduate student government commission can now allocate its own surpluses to fund scholarships, following a bylaw change last week.
The Community Service Commission proposed to split surplus mandatory fees from students to the John H. Sarvey & Robert S. Michaels Leadership in Service Award.
Surplus from all Undergraduate Students Association Council offices, which are funded by student fees, are pooled together and distributed to different funds. The first $150,000 of surplus goes to a student group surplus, which includes the Undergraduate Students Association Programming Fund, the Capital Items Fund and the Contingency Fund. The remaining surplus goes to the Council Programming Endowment.
Community Service Commissioner Zack Dameron said the bylaw change restricts CSC surpluses for scholarships for students and groups.
“Previously these funds would go to the pot (of funds) where (the) council will allocate to various needs and funds they see fit,” Dameron said. “In a way by restricting it in the future, we’re keeping our surplus within service-based initiatives on campus.”
Several candidates in this year’s USAC elections plan to direct surpluses back to their offices.
Neha Quraishi, internal vice president candidate for Bruins United, said in an email that her platform IVPhunds aims to generate funds for her office from fundraisers and council funds surpluses.
She said these bylaw changes would not take any surplus funds away from student groups, but rather repurpose leftover funds. She added doing so would allow students to more easily access fund line items their organizations need, such as T-shirts and food, and enhance student group experience.
Sabrina Zeigler, the current IVP, said in an email that she thinks experienced IVPs don’t need referendum funds because they have known which funds to apply for and when, and they apply mostly to cover venue costs.
Dameron said he disagrees with Quraishi’s platform because no other USAC offices have passed bylaws to redirect surplus directly to the office.
Jack Price, independent candidate for external vice president, also said in his candidate statement he wants to pass bylaw changes to redistribute surplus funds to create food and housing security scholarships for students.
However, Dameron and Associated Students UCLA Director Roy Champawat said they think surpluses are not ideal because they mean offices have not spent all of their allocated mandatory student fees.
“The expectation the commissioner should have is that they shouldn’t be trying to create the surplus,” Champawat said. “Surplus occurs though. If any money were to be remaining, the bylaw defines (CSC surpluses) have to be spent in these two subsequent funds.”