SBA Votes for Secession from University

“SBA Votes for Secession from University”

Law Street Journal Article (December 3, 1990)

By Randol Schoenberg

In a stunning move that may change the face of student government at USC, our SBA has voted to secede financially from the Student Government. With sixteen votes in favor and only two against the SBA decided to seek a separation from the current governing body. Then by a four vote margin, the SBA declared its desire for financial independence from the rest of the University community. The second vote was a rejection of Student Senate President Steve Weber’s plea for Law Center support of a separate Graduate Student Senate. In January the SBA will take a referendum before continuing the fight for separation.

What is secession? The SBA is steamed that each semester, the graduate program board (GPB) returns only $9.16 of our $21 programming fee to the SBA for use in funding law center activities. The GPB receives $185,000 per year for programming out of an overall student affairs budget of almost $1,000,000. The programming fees are returned to the various graduate schools for their own use. The Law School receives about $11,000 each year from the GPB. However, the law students contribute over $25,000 to the entire student affairs budget.

The SBA wants to regain control over the difference by financially separating itself from the rest of the University. That move is likely to meet much opposition both in the Student Senate and the University administration.

The Student Senate distributes the entire University’s programming fees. They dole out money to the student assemblies representing various constituencies on campus. For example, the Black Student Assembly gets $25,000, Latinos $26,000, Asians $22,000, Women $9,000, Gay & Lesbian $11,000, and International students $27,000. Our programming fees go into the pool that subsidizes the activities of those groups. The Senate also gives $48,000 to fund Intramurals.

Proponents of secession argue that we receive little if any benefit from our programming fees which are not returned to us by the GPB. Opponents worry that the law school will be sending the wrong signal by calling for complete separation from the rest of the University.

In the articles below, Third Year President Alan Hoffman and Second Year Vice President Michael Hoffman debate the pros and cons of secession.

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