Friday, July 19

Multiple groups claim renting rooms from ASUCLA come with steep or surprise fees


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Both UCLA and non-UCLA groups said they face unexpected room rental costs when hosting events on campus.

Associated Students UCLA room rentals are free for student groups for certain venues, but additional charges may be added after a group hosts an event. Prices increase for on-campus clients as well as off-campus clients, who can ask for funding from student government and neighborhood councils.

Outside groups may have to allocate a large budget to finding an event space if they intend to host their event at UCLA. Joseph Lopez, state ambassador at WestCal Academy, a secondary education nonprofit college, said he was part of one of these groups.

Lopez said he was discontent with the pricing at a North Westwood Neighborhood Council meeting at which WestCal Academy was requesting funds from the council in order to host an event at UCLA.

UCLA asked the nonprofit for $5,000 to rent out the Village Valley Room at Weyburn Terrace, Lopez said.

Lopez said WestCal Academy has hosted events on other college campuses, such as UC Davis, California State University, Long Beach and Humanities & Arts Academy of Los Angeles, and has never been requested to pay a fee.

“We do not charge students for our program and every penny counts,” Lopez said. “These costs restrict our ability to interact with UCLA students.”

Student groups also face additional fees that impede their ability to host and organize on-campus events.

Although student organizations can rent venue spaces for free on campus, there have been additional charges and fees placed on accounts after the event, which have put student groups’ accounts on hold, said Siena Villegas, a rising third-year business economics student and member of Samahang Pilipino Education and Retention.

“ASUCLA said we didn’t clean up after ourselves and that the charge was for the extra janitorial costs,” Villegas said. “But every time we use a space, we are definitely sure to clean up everything. There was no appealing process either.”

Villegas said she hopes a clearer process can be established in the future for student organizations and ASUCLA with regards to these rental spaces.

Kimberly Bonifacio, the Undergraduate Students Association Council internal vice president and rising fourth-year political science student, said these additional venue costs can affect student groups’ abilities to host events because not all groups are aware of the funding applications offered to alleviate the costs.

Bonifacio said student groups are able to apply for various scholarships that allocate funds to encourage student programming.

“I personally think that student groups should be able to host events on campus without having to take on more financial costs because students pay enough student fees,” Bonifacio said.

ASUCLA Event Services only add costs after an event if there was a change requested by the student group the day of the event, if the group exceeded its approved event length or if the group engaged in unapproved activities that imposed extraordinary cleaning costs on the venue, according to an email statement from ASUCLA.

According to ASUCLA, an appeals process is already in place. Fees that student groups disagree with can be appealed to the events division manager, according to ASUCLA Event Services protocol. If questions still exist, then appeals can be made to the student union director.

Despite most rooms being free for student use, certain buildings like Royce Hall are not and certain student groups may have to allocate large amounts of money to reserve these kinds of spaces.

Eunice Kang, the finance advisor for Korean Culture Night and a rising fourth-year psychology student, said the majority of the money her student organization raises goes to renting event spaces.

“Korean Culture Night’s annuals production cost varies anywhere from $45,000-$50,000 total per year, and we project around $30,000 of that cost goes toward renting out UCLA Royce Hall and other facilities such as Kerckhoff Grand Salon for our KCN Run-Thru Rehearsals,” she said in an email.

Kang said that, with the production value of Korean Culture Night being extremely steep, the organization applies to at least eight to 10 different programming funds.

“These programming funds are very receptive to our applications and needs because they are understandings of the costs and efforts that are put into organizing student-led culture nights and are willing to financially donate thousands of dollars for our event,” she said.

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