ASI Controls $3.4 million in Student Fees
March 6, 2007 5:04 PM
Students entrust about $3.4 million of their money each semester in fees for enhanced resources such as childcare, free tampons, condoms and legal information with a single, upcoming vote.
Associated Students Inc., or ASI, will hold elections from March 19 through March 21 and the candidates who are elected will, among other duties, hold the responsibility of dispersing funds to seven ASI-sponsored programs.
Funding for ASI comes from a $42 per semester allocation of student fees. According to an advertisement in The Golden Gate [X]press from ASI, the seven programs are expected to consume about 52 percent of the nearly $3.4 million ASI budget in the 2007-08 school year, with the remainder going to the ASI Board of Directors, the ASI business office, allowances for clubs and reserves. Each ASI program receives a fixed budget and must re-apply every year.
The Early Child Education Center, which provides childcare to students, faculty and staff receives the most funding from ASI. Last year they received $1,350,109 from ASI and other funding from parent fees and other sources. The program is expected to receive $1,351,097 in funding from ASI for the 2007-08 school year.
The second most highly funded ASI program is the Associated Students Performing Arts and Lectures, or ASPA, its budget constitutes about 6 percent of the ASI budget. The program provides students with opportunities to view plays, films and lectures in a localized and comfortable environment. In the 2005-06 school year, the program received $295,035, but the proposed budget for 2006-07 and the prospected budget for 2007-08 are both set at $207,769.
“We've been severely cut,” said ASPA Director Muata Kenyatta, referring to the program's budget. “We lost one professional staff member and three student staff members.”
The ASPA cuts allowed, in part, the formation of the third most highly funded ASI program, Project Connect. The program is responsible for the recruitment and retention of students and provides student resources. The three-semester-old program initially received $50,000 from other budget cuts and has since been granted a budget of $72,418 in the 2006-07 school year.
Office coordinator Parth Patel said the program let students know what is available to them as well as to reach out to the community and promote higher education. The program also recently initiated outreach to elementary students in lower-income environments.
“We do a lot of fliering,” said the 21-year-old biochemistry senior. He also explained that recent events like “Super Sunday,” during which SF State President Robert Corrigan addressed local African -American churches, are designed to increase awareness in the community.
Another ASI program, Project Rebound, focuses on providing educational opportunities to those who need it. With $71,000, the fourth largest budget, the organization encourages education to incarcerated individuals.
“It's run by multiple people who have been incarcerated,” said Manuel LaFontaine, a 28-year-old psychology junior and Project Rebound employee. “I go to juvenile hall and other correction facilities.”
The remaining three programs, Educational Referral Organization on Sexuality, or EROS, the Women's Center and the Legal Resource Center all have budgets around $20,000.
Matt Woods, the assistant director of EROS, a program that provides information on sex as well as free condoms, lubrication, books and brochures, explained that students seem unaware of the services that are provided to them.
“They're pretty oblivious to the whole thing,” said the speech and communications master's student. “But people should know what's available, especially since it's their money.”
The Women's Center is an education, resource and referral center for women. Emmy Highsmith, a Women's Center employee, said the center serves as a safe place for women to gather and also provides concrete services.
“We supply free pads and tampons, access to our library and basic resources and pamphlets,” said the 22-year-old American studies junior.
The Legal Resource Center provides information about where to go when in legal trouble. The program does not provide legal advice but does offer confidential counseling, information and other resources. For $10, students can also receive attorney consultations.
ASI elections are coming up, so for more information about ASI organizations and the services they offer, go to http://www.asisfsu.org/ and look under ASI programs or ask about their locations in the Cesar Chavez Student Center.
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