Student Fee Advisory Committee

Chair Report, 2001-2002


The 2001-2002 academic year was an especially challenging one for SFAC due to the budget crisis facing the state. Standard responsibilities of the committee such as reviewing campus units through the SAT process and working on internal reviews of SFAC guiding documents were still maintained by the committee; however, the core function of the committee, reviewing budget requests from eligible campus units for registration fee funding, was halted by state decisions. Below is a summary of the different responsibilities of the Chair and how they were approached this academic year.


Members: It was previously mentioned that a committee’s effectiveness can be measured by the investment and participation of its members. This year the committee was especially fortunate to have student members on the committee that brought various viewpoints and experience to the table. Two administrative representatives continued while the committee was joined by a new administrative representative, and a newly appointed faculty representative from the Academic Senate. Logistical matters such as scheduling meeting times for the academic year as well as handling subcommittees and SFAC responsibilities outside of the regular meeting time were handled well because committee members were proactive in managing their committee responsibilities. Overall, the committee was very effective – this effectiveness was enhanced by the composition of the committee: graduate and undergraduate students that were well-versed in a wide range of campus issues, which allowed them to bring this advocacy experience to SFAC, and administrative representatives that provided valuable perspectives to the committee.


Orientation: Orientation serves as a space for SFAC members to get acquainted with one another and with the responsibilities that they will have while on SFAC. For returning members, both students and administrative representatives, Orientation served as a time to become as informed as possible with the financial situation facing the state and how that would impact the University of California and more specifically, the function of SFAC. For new members, Orientation served as a time to become acquainted with SFAC and as a formal introduction to the intricate world of budgets and strategic planning, including the role that SFAC plays in this entire process. One recommendation for next year’s orientation would be to have a more in depth budget presentation from its advisor. Questions were raised during the year about logistical matters involving the delegation of student fees from the UC Office of the President. Miscommunication on this matter could have been prevented had this topic been covered more in depth during Orientation and subsequent meetings. Thus, the importance of Orientation should be emphasized. This time should be utilized effectively and should cover those issues that are of most relevance to the committee. 


Subcommittees: In an effort to make the work of the SFAC subcommittees more effective, the coordination of various subcommittees was delegated to other committee members (i.e. Services Assessment Team, Registration Fee Guidelines review). This worked out very well, not only because it alleviated the workload for the Chair, but also because it served as a way to invest other committee members in the logistical work of the SFAC. By soliciting different styles of leadership and facilitation from committee members, student members were able to participate in a structure that was more inclusive of the entire committee.

Council on Student Fees: The Council on Student Fees (CSF) is a system-wide body comprised of the chairs of each UC fee committee. After a brief period of inactivity, the CSF experienced a resurgence of productivity. The Council hired staff support and through its Chair, developed a strong working relationship with the UC Office of the President as well as the UC Student Association. CSF was especially productive in working to re-establish an adequate and comparable level of student input throughout all UC student fee committees. As a campus, UCLA was able to provide the Council with valuable perspective on campus fee issues that extended throughout the UC. Under the strong leadership that the Council has established through its Chair, CSF should undoubtedly continue to move in a positive and productive direction in order to effectively advocate for all students, campus and system-wide.


Budget Process: The main function of the committee, which is to advise the Chancellor on the use of student fee funds, was halted this year due to the current fiscal climate of the state. The traditional budget process which the committee was accustomed to did not occur as expected. Proposals were not reviewed by the committee in their customary manner. However, several proposals were brought forth to SFAC for their recommendation. The School of Law presented a proposal to SFAC to increase their Materials Fee from $40 to $300 for continuing students and $600 for entering students in order to cover increased costs for information technology services; the Ashe Center also made a proposal to create a set of user fees for new optometry services to be provided through the Ashe Center. The Wooden Center also brought forth information on a possible referendum for the upcoming year to cover standard maintenance costs as well as an unexpected financial burden due to the staging of the Men’s Gym in Wooden North.


Throughout the year, the committee repeatedly requested information on the status of the state budget as well as information on the strategic planning process that all campus units were asked to participate in. Information did not reach the committee in time, and therefore, any potential decisions that could have impacted the budget situation at UCLA were prevented.


A challenge for the upcoming year will be addressing the continuing budget crisis while allowing SFAC to keep its traditionally strong level of input at UCLA and at the entire UC level. While I am confident that the committee will face these challenges, I urge the next SFAC to be prepared and to take on the many challenges of maintaining student input on budget, campus, and system-wide issues that will have 



Respectfully submitted,


Vanessa Sifuentes

SFAC Chair 2001-2002