The Student Activities and Services Initiative Fee (SASI) was created as a reaction to the sunset clause in the Student Services Maintenance Fee (SSMF) initiative. It was very similar to the previous initiative except for three things:

  • It had no sunset clause
  • It allowed itself to increase with inflation and for increases in program costs
  • It contained no funding for Cowell Student Health Center.

While it was touted as simply a replacement, these changes would have consequences in future years. Some believed that passage of the SASI confirmed that students were willing to pay for these services, and would be willing to do so indefinitely and at possible higher costs. Others saw it as confirmation that students could be manipulated into paying unreasonably for services that had long been the responsibility of Student Affairs (see Hidden Agenda below).

The removal of the health center funding allowed the issue to stand on its own merits, without people voting for it out of fear of losing some part of the low cost healthcare they had. The Health Center got its own initiative around the same time that generated Student Services Health Fee.

The Hidden Agenda

Like the SSMF, the SASI was primarily the brainchild of three people: Bob Franks (Associate Vice Chancellor—Student Affairs), Larry Swanson (Associate Director of Athletics), and Scott Brayton (Athletic Department intern/employee). Franks and Swanson provided counsel and behind-the-scenes support, while Brayton and his friends served as the "student-athlete" public faces of the campaign. Whether knowingly or not, Brayton advanced the UC Davis administration's desire to pass on the costs of Intercollegiate Athletics to a student tax rather than paying for it out of the Student Affairs budget (which, by the way, is already support by student fees and taxpayers).

Not coincidentally, Scott Brayton was rewarded for the passage of the SSMF and SASI with a full-time career position in the UC Davis Athletics Department and is currently "Associate Athletics Director / Auction, Marketing and Promotions."[WWW]

Also not coincidentally, Larry Swanson and Scott Brayton formed the Aggie Pack in 1992 ostensibly as a spirit squad to support UC Davis Athletics. Members of the Aggie Pack just happened to be the front-line volunteers in the campaign to pass the SSMF in 1993 and the SASI in 1995. In other words, a university-support group served as a political action committee and campaign group to pass student fee increases favored by the UC Davis administration.