The Student Services Maintenance Fee (SSMF) was voted upon during the Spring 1993 Quarter. This was out of severe budget cuts killed practically all funding for Intercollegiate Athletics, and Cowell Student Health Center. This issue had a sunset clause that would make it expire in several years under the assumption that either the funding would return in the future with an improved economy, or students would have to vote it in again. However, just two years later, the students were asked to pass the Student Activities and Services Initiative Fee (SASI) which made the originally "temporary" SSMF permanent.


Prior to this initiative, students generally had to buy tickets to athletic events (albeit at a heavily discounted price), but afterward essentially you were already buying season tickets every quarter, so admission was free. The other plus side was that attendance at events boomed since the starving college student didn't have to worry about buying tickets. Although this is about the time Aggie Pack began as well, so it was probably a combination of factors.

The health center had few changes, but since visiting with a doctor was already free for students, it kept it accessible.


One of the primary student leaders who spoke out in opposition to the SSMF was Peter Nguyen, ASUCD Internal Affairs Commission Chair and future ASUCD President. He repeatedly argued that the SSMF boiled down to self-taxation for basic campus services students were already paying for, but to no avail as the Student Activities and Services Initiative Fee (SASI) and Student Services Health Fee subsequently passed.

UC Davis was one of the first Universities to propose such a fee, and it was subsequently copied all over the country during the poor economy of the early 90's.

The Hidden Agenda

The SSMF 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" at the time). Franks and Swanson provided counsel and behind-the-scenes support, while Brayton was the "student-athlete" public face 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 with a full-time career position in the UC Davis Athletics Department and is currently "Associate Athletics Director / Auction, Marketing and Promotions."

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 the very next year, 1993. In other words, a university-support group served as a political action committee and campaign group to pass a student fee increase favored by the UC Davis administration.


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2009-04-10 18:01:38   I don't see what the "hidden agenda" is. It looks like it was a savvy campaign, what's wrong with that? —jsogul

2009-04-10 18:16:07   The hidden agenda is that administrator and others on the university payroll are not supposed to interfere with a student election. It is an ethical and likley legal violation. Student initiatives should be student-initiated, not administrator initiated. —maxtran

2009-04-10 23:04:15   It's also not a coincidence that AVC Franks was a member of Sword and Sandals, and the S&S members were gung ho about SSMF. —BrentLaabs