UCSA, the UC Student Association, is the official voice for all UC graduate and undergraduate student governments. In the past, ASUCD and the Graduate Student Association were members of UCSA. ASUCD left in Spring 2006 and GSA left in Fall of 2007, both claiming that the organization had major organizational problems and that they were ineffective at lobbying. The Law Students Association has never been a member.

In June 2009, ASUCLA GSA voted 11-1 to leave UCSA. In Spring 2010, they will have a ballot referendum to eliminate all mandatory UCSA fees.

UCSA developed from the UC Student Lobby, an arm of the UC Student Body Presidents Council. This presumably developed from the Pacific Student Presidents' Association. (Wikipedia: more history) They currently serve as an active partner with the United States Student Association (USSA) and employ eight people (six line, two staff). They select the Student Regent finalists annually.

Before leaving in 2006, ASUCD contributed about $26,000 a year to be a member of UCSA. However, some Senators and students still think that they do not care about UC Davis and are doing a bad job representing undergraduates and graduate students.

Current minimum dues are $1.30 per student annually, paid by each member association. While ASUCD balked at the increase from $1.20 to $1.30, UC Santa Barbara undergraduates increased their contribution to more than $7 per student annually.

UCSA wants you to contribute your story at the UCSA Blog!

Current UCSA Scandal Level
  UCSA Invasion Imminent
  Aggie Editorials
  Davis Wiki Postings
  No longer members

See a copy of UCSA's draft budget proposal for FY2006-07: budget.pdf


UCSA's Oakland Office, which sorta overlooks Lake Merritt, in 2005. I'm sure they've taken that UCD pennant down by now. UCSA organized a "March to Stop the Fee Hike" rally at UC Berkeley for November 17th, 2005 in reaction to the proposed fee hike the UC Regents were going to pass. However, the Regents, as was noted on their schedule, voted to pass the fee hike on the 16th. Some see this as an example of UCSA not knowing what they are doing. They also put in a lot of work to get the UC Regents to divest from Sudan.

UCSA intends to ask ASUCD for a $3,000 increase in their fees. The UCSA representative cancelled intended visits for three straight weeks until they finally appeared two weeks before budget hearings.

UCSA appoints students to UC system wide committees which advise the UC Regents and Academic Senate. They also are involved in the second stage of interviews for the student regent position. The University Office of the President (UCOP) narrows the applicants down to ten and then UCSA narrows that pool down to 3, which then go on to be interviewed by the regents. UCSA successfully advocated for the creation of the student regent position.

UCSA also controls "white-lining" at regents meetings. "White-lining" is where students are able to actually meet the regents, eat with them and have longer public comment time during regents meetings. The "white-lining" position was also successfully advocated for by UCSA.

On June 25th the UCSA Board of Directors passed a resolution 11-0-0 allowing ASUCD to retain its voting rights through Spring 2007.

A Delegation of 11 students represented ASUCD at the 8th annual UCSA Congress, held from July 12th through July 16th at UC San Diego. The Delegates were: Michelle Shaffie, Matthew Shannon, James Schwab, Darnell Holloway, Chris Herold, Erica Rozetti, Kevin Powers, Jill Weinstiein, Daryl Suyat, Alexis Laliberte, and Kai Savaree-Ruess.

On July 16th, graduate student BrentLaabs was elected and subsequently appointed to the position of Chair of the Board of Directors of UCSA. Chairman Laabs represents the UC Davis Graduate Student Association (GSA). However, he was asked to resign by the Executive Committee on October 14th, 2006, first in private, and then in public the following day. After some discussion and a vote of no confidence, he resigned the UCSA Chair position.

On October 12th, 2006, the ASUCD decided to not fully fund UCSA in the budget, UC Davis may no longer be a member in good standing with the UCSA. Reaction to a later resolution formally dissociating ASUCD from UCSA was interesting:

(excerpt from BoD minutes, 11-17-2006) (sic)

Matt [Shannon] from UC Davis has come to speak about UC Davis. Matt's come to discuss working together to affirm notion for the summer. Ahnika [Kline] asks about the last BIRT [be it resolved that] which discusses distribution and the motivation about passing out the resolution to different state legislature. Ahnika says she is worried about working together when the resolution is set out to negatively impact UCSA. Matt responds that it was passed as amended and they felt it was important to distribute. Ahnika asked about the possibility of amending it and they said it was already passed. Doug [Jorgenson] asked about getting a member of UCD AS on the steering committee for Lobby Day. Matt responded that this seems like a possibility. Tina asked about why payment wasn’t there, and Matt said they can’t pay if they aren’t in good standing and that contract is not valid because Mark Champagne couldn’t sign. Cindy asked about Mark’s role at UCDavis Senate. Matt says he is the business director. Bill [Shiebler] asks President [Holloway] to contact him. Matt responds to letter sent by UCSA saying that money has been reallocated, so UCSA won’t be getting payment. Bill says, regardless of financial situation, if Matt could ask president to contact him. Matt agrees to do this. Peter [Tittmann] thanks them for coming and says it is a good effort. Cindy [Mosqueda] is concerned that a good faith effort hasn’t been made. Matt claims that he’s only one person, and he said he tried to have the vote when UCSA Staff were already present on campus. The feeling at Davis was that they should not be paying UCSA 29k. Cindy is concerned that no communication with UCSA is a lack of professionalism. Matt hopes that these grievances in the resolution will change and that eventually UCD can be part of UCSA again. Oiyan [Poon] asks to clarify what working together means. Matt claims that keeping informed is part of it, and trying to work together despite our different relationship. (sic)

Throughout the 2006-2007 school year, Graduate Student Association representative Peter Tittmann attempted to work through differences with UCSA, proposing things such as a graduate student-oriented action agenda item and bylaw reforms. ASUCD had supported the grad issue in 2006 (non-resident tuition), since they thought the campaign was actually winnable.

At the UCSA Congress in July 2007, the GSA attended UCSA Congress. Newly elected GSA Chair James Hodgson and External Chair Brent Laabs went to survey the progress. Little had changed in attitude and the way in which the meetings were run. Undergrads outvoted graduate students in determining the graduate action agenda. A candidate for a minor UCSA office was singled out because she had said, "I think the conference is a little too centered on diversity issues," and many expressed concern about her fitness for office. And finally, while the UC Regents were indoors deciding the fate of fees and programs, UCSA was outside protesting to a wall where no regent could hear.

On Wednesday October 3, 2007, the GSA Assembly voted to leave UCSA 38-3-3, as a result of their continuing unsatisfactory experience. This was not without some controversy — Tom Aguilar in particular had felt that Peter had made some form of commitment to help reform UCSA the prior year, and that GSA was in effect abandoning its promise. James and particularly Brent were of the opinion that given the history of the UCSA, any attempts at reform would be unsuccessful and there would be no use investing in sunk costs. Whether for good or ill, GSA voted to leave, and Davis became the first campus since 1994 to be completely unrepresented by UCSA.

The GSA Wiki has a ton of information about UCSA, including a 17-page-long report about the history of UCSA.

As of September 2008, ASUCD boasts a strong Lobby Corps, a new University Affairs Office, and the sense that leaving UCSA has revitalized ASUCD's advocacy programs. GSA has joined the student-run National Association of Graduate-Professional Students, and holds three seats on their 15-seat Board of Directors.


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  • ASUCD left UCSA once in the 90's for a few years for similar reasons. They eventually rejoined, although I am unsure if it was due to changes in UCSA or in ASUCD. The counter-argument is that leaving diminishes ASUCD's lobbying ability since they don't have the resources or the connections that UCSA has, but yes, they would be able to represent ASUCD's interests directly. It seems to generally create a lot of noise on both sides, and not much else in terms of visible results. —RogerClark
    • I think the visible results is that ASUCD would get $26,000 back to spend at its discretion. Much of this would probably be redirected to the Lobby Corps, but not necessarily all. —BrentLaabs

2008-08-17 01:09:45   Why does the ASUCD have the biggest budget of any student organization in the nation? It even has the largest spirit organization in the nation (Aggie Pack). I would have thought an Ivy League school would have the nation's biggest budget. I couldn't believe this when I was reading though daviswiki. The more research I do, the more Davis sticks out. Why is UC Davis so unusually special compared to all the other UC's?

Even the other UC campuses have Wikis, but they are either very inactive or are nonexistent. Davis seems to have the largest database, and most activity. Can someone fill me in? —ThanhVu

  • It depends on your definition of "biggest". As far as disposable income to throw around from year to year, ASUCD is not that spectacular. But the sheer size of the operation is. ASUCD owns Unitrans, the Coffee House, KDVS, the California Aggie, and many smaller units including a student lobbying unit that has a political firm advising and doing research for it. Not many student governments own and operate a bus system so that raises the bar. The Coffee House is one of the biggest student run restaurants in the nation, in regards to # of employees and daily sales which raises the bar even higher. KDVS is one of the last actual student-run radio stations in the US and the folks there are highly skilled at fundraising. They also recently created their own record label and recording studio. Throw in a the California Aggie and ASUCD has a lot of large operations under its wing. I'm not sure what constitutes "the largest spirit organization". It's very easy to become a member, in fact they give you a free shirt when you do. Almost everyone goes to at least one game to get that free shirt...which means they become a member. As far as $$ goes Aggie Pack can't be the largest in the nation and if they are, then they should stop asking for more money in the form of more student fees. So membership maybe really large, but in regards to how much they can spend they are pretty low on the national list. -JimSchwab
  • UCSU at UC Boulder (Colorado) has a budget of around $30 million, which is about 3 times ASUCD's budget. They provide the campus health service and campus resource centers, so a lot of money flows through them which goes through Student Affairs here at UCD. —BrentLaabs
    • There's another possible reason UCD's student budget number is larger than "bigger" universities: At Penn State there is not a single student government, but rather several different ones that wax and wane in power, each with distinct and individual budgets and accounts. In addition, many of the larger student organizations have their own autonomous budgets that do not draw from any student government funds. There is an off campus book store owned and run as a student organization for instance, and for a long time campus security (including the police department!) was a student organization that billed the university directly for services. The alumni organizations have a totally distinct set of accounts and practices and several student groups (like one of the four radio stations) use them to store funds. There are even a few student groups whose whole purpose is to connect organizations to various sources of available funding (one for performances, one for on campus events, one for surrounding community events, etc). As a result there's simply no single block budget to point to for "student operated funds". I'd imagine many other large universities do it the same way, whereas UCD has a much more centralized single student government with monetary control that causes their single figure to be higher rather than many lower figures spread out among different pools of funding (some of whom operate with closed books making it difficult to even simply add them together). —jw