Follow the Money
By Lois Boulgarides & Kevin Wehr

Here at CFA we get a lot of information on the “down low”. Sometimes this comes in the form of an anonymous letter detailing an interesting political situation on campus. Sometimes it is a student who thinks something sounds fishy, and wants some faculty input. Sometimes it is rumor, gossip, or innuendo. Most of the time we either can’t fully document the situation, or we don’t make it public because those faculty involved do not wish to go on the record. But these juicy pieces of information have been coming fast and furious these days.

There was the $1,000,000 grant won by a group of faculty members for a three-year long campus-wide program, the money for which mysteriously dried up after two years. There’s the renovation of the Library front desk that was privileged over new acquisitions. In fact, library collections have been cut more than $800,000. And then there’s the financing of the new “Well” building (remember when it used to be the “Recreation, Wellness, and Events Center”? It seems to have been reduced by 66%!). Donations raised to build the WELL went to build the Broad Field House. And the financing of the Broad Field House comes from some unusual sources, including the Sac State Parking Fund. There’s some shenanigans there, but just what is hard to tell. The list goes on and on. The problem, of course, is that much of this money cannot be followed: Though the administration likes to say that everything they do through University Enterprises, Inc. is totally transparent, the truth is quite the opposite. Much of where the money goes and how it is spent is opaque at best. UEI needs to disclose where the money comes from and where it goes—this was the goal of Senator Leland Yee’s bill SB 330 (which was written and proposed by a student from our campus!). It would have clarified that University auxiliary organizations are subject to the California Public Records Act, and force them to open their books. Faculty (via grants) and students (via awards and student fees) contribute to UEI’s coffers. We deserve to know where the money is going. Once again, Governor Schwarzenegger has vetoed the SB 330, even though both the house and the senate overwhelmingly passed it. Perhaps the vigorous lobbying of the CSU Chancellor’s office and the UC President’s office swayed the Governor. One wonders what the administrators of the largest university systems in the world have to hide from their faculty and from the public.