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Student groups petition for special fees

Various student groups have begun the petitioning process to get special fees requests on this year’s ballot, the largest of which topped $185,000. University budget cuts forced many groups to dig into their reserve funds this year in order to meet operating costs that were previously covered by special fees.

Thus far, some of the major increases have come from three groups: club sports requested a 22-percent increase, KZSU petitioned for a 25-percent increase and Alternative Spring Break (ASB) asked for a 257-percent increase.

Last year, the club sports budget was reduced to $152,320 after it petitioned for $204,850. The group is requesting a budget of $185,622.40 for the 2011-12 academic year.

The ASSU is accepting special fees petitions until Mar. 4. (SERENITY NGUYEN/The Stanford Daily)

Graduate student Kate Johnson, the club sports financial officer, said the group dipped into its reserve account to meet its financial needs for the 2010-11 academic year.

“We did have a pretty sizable reserve account, and we drew on that pretty heavily,” Johnson said. “But now we don’t have much in the way of reserves.”

The group’s biggest expenses are coaching fees, facilities rentals, travel expenses, registration fees and equipment, Johnson said.

She added that clubs sports are “a great resource for the graduate students on this campus,” noting that many involved with club sports were varsity athletes in college.

Johnson said the group still needed about 600 more signatures, particularly from graduate students.

KZSU last year requested a budget of $80,699 but received $65,269. This year, the group is requesting $81,338.

“We don’t think of it so much as an increase as a negation of a decrease,” said Alan Joyce, one of KZSU’s general managers. “At this point, we really need to get back to what we consider our standard budget.”

“This year, we already depleted through our reserves, and we really feel like we can’t continue to operate at the current budget level,” he added.

KZSU made major equipment purchases over the last two years, buying a new transmitter and replacing a console that had been in the studio since the 1980s. The group currently spends more on travel in order to cover away games for eight sports.

Joyce was “cautiously optimistic” that KZSU’s petition would succeed.

“The response has been pretty positive to our petition,” Joyce said. “I think we’re on track to succeed.”

Alterative Spring Break (ASB), which runs 15 to 17 trips over spring break, is requesting a budget of $80,358.25. The group received $22,524 last year after petitioning for $79,858.

“Last year’s expenditures came to about $67,000,” said Shaan Chugh, a member of the ASB team in charge of finance.

Although ASB’s expenditures last year totaled $67,000, the group is petitioning for $80,358.25. A planned increase in ASB trips, from 17 to 19, accounts for the increase, Chugh said.

“In previous years, Alternative Spring Break has been very popular with the students,” he said.

The largest share of ASB’s budget is travel costs for its 17 trips, each of which includes roughly 14 students.

The Stanford Daily, which has received special fees in the past, is requesting $89,500 in special fees to cover half the paper’s printing costs, the same amount requested last year.

Requests for other groups can be found at petitions.stanford.edu.

Special fees petitioning ends on Mar. 4 at 4 p.m. The results will be posted to the ASSU Elections Commission website on Mar. 8 at 4 p.m.

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