Budget Proposal Stirs Dissent Among Students

El Vaquero Staff Writer

Tension filled the J.W. Smith Student Center Conference Room on March 14 as the members of the Associated Students of Glendale Community College (ASGCC) debated a new budget proposal designed to ease some of the financial burdens placed on students and to alleviate the college’s fiscal woes.

The issue that dominated the majority of the meeting and stirred some passionate debate between the ASGCC members was a plan proposed by Alen Andriassian, Adviser of Student Activities, to roll back the student services fee to $12.50 from its current rate of $15 and utilize the $2.50 from that total to fund the building of the much needed parking structure.

The plan will prevent the student services fee from returning to the $10 rate students paid three years ago. However, it will also keep the parking permit fees from being raised to $65 in the fall in order to cover the cost of the construction.

Under this plan, there will be a more gradual increase in parking fees while the new parking structure is being built. The $2.50 revenue brought in from the student services fee will contribute $100,000 each year for the next four years to the construction of the parking structure.

Andriassian’s plan comes at a time when the college is facing a major budget crunch as it seeks to build a new parking structure that has already exceeded its proposed budget by about $6 million.
“The $12.50 will allow them to borrow on that amount and come up with the $3 million needed to complete the parking lot,” said David Arakelyan, Vice President of Finance.

However, despite positive reception from a majority of the ASGCC members, Andriassian’s plan faced some opposition at the table from Vice President of Administration, Thomas Dryden.

Dryden voiced concern about the “shock factor” students will experience due to an increase in parking and student service fees.
“Students will be scared off by the $10 increase in parking for 2007,” said Dryden. “It’s a ridiculous idea that people are going to have to pay extra fees for a parking structure they’re never going to use.”

Although this is a contentious point, it should be noted that fee increases happen regularly at all educational institutions.

The new student center and bookstore are among many examples of infrastructural amenities that benefit new students, and not necessarily the ones who financed the construction.

Sabine Freij, Vice President of Campus Activities, contributed to the ongoing debate over the increase in fees with her view that “if someone lets a $10 increase in fees stand in the way of their education it’s pretty sad.”

Certainly the psychological impact of the proposed plan on the students was heavily weighed, but the emphasis of the meeting was that ASGCC made a promise to students to lower the student services fee and it must honor that commitment.

“It’s important for us as an organization to be respected as an independent body that adheres to its promises,” Arakelyan said after spending the majority of the hour-long meeting responding to questions and concerns put forth by the other members. “We have to keep our promise to our students to roll back the fees.”

Despite the ongoing debate, the recommended plan to revise the student services fee was finally ended by a majority vote in support of the measure, which was opposed by “nay” votes from Dryden and Luis Mares.

It seems that parking issues were the centerpieces of the meeting as the college strives to accommodate the hundreds of students that will be inconvenienced due to parking lot closures during renovations starting the first week of April.

The loss of the 300 spots will take a heavy toll on students who will be given full access to Lot 32 (the teacher’s lot) because the teacher’s will be shuttled back and forth from campus from a designated spot in Downtown Glendale, according to ASGCC member Arpine Hovasapyan. Is it teachers who are going to be shuttled, or support staff? I haven’t heard that teachers will have to park off campus.

For those interested in the lighter side of campus life there will be a competition hosted by the Campus Activities Committee on March 14 where there will be a Fear Factor cocktail table and the winner will be awarded $50.

Planning by the President’s Retirement Committee for President John Davitt’s retirement celebration is nearing completion as various upcoming events are being scheduled.
Friday is Club Registration Day and all club members must officially register their clubs with the IOC.

As GCC embarks on its effort to relieve the parking problems that plague students the decision made by the ASGCC to approve the plan during this somewhat intense, yet crucial meeting was perhaps the most important decision this ASGCC cabinet will have to make, according to Alen Andriassian.