On Monday, June 24, the campus took action to immediately remove the ASUC's authorization to operate a commercial enterprise on campus by withdrawing its business delegation following procedures outlined in the Statement of Understanding between the campus and the ASUC.
A press release announcing this decision is available on the Campus News and Events WWW page accessed through the campus home page or directly at http://www.urel.berkeley.edunews.
Below are answers to commonly asked questions concerning the action.
- Q: You say you are removing the ASUC's business delegation. What does that mean?
- A: It means the ASUC no longer has the authority to operate a commercial enterprise on the campus.
- Q: Why is the campus doing this?
- A: To halt the extraordinary financial deterioration of the student-run bookstore. It is the chancellor's responsibility to ensure the fiscal soundness of this campus operation.
The ASUC-run store is financially insolvent and its rapidly mounting losses severely threaten the likelihood that textbooks and other essential course materials will be available to students in time for the fall semester.
- Q: Are you trying to shut down student government?
- A: No, just the opposite. This action affects only the ASUC's failing business operation. It leaves intact and untouched the ASUC's primary role -- the independent administration of student government. If the campus allowed the ASUC to continue its huge losses, the financial burden could threaten the very future of the ASUC.
- Q: If you close their store, how will student government fund itself? How will student groups get money?
- A: The campus will provide funding for student groups and student government. Each year $600,000 to $700,000 in funds from student fees is available to support student groups and student government. This money is completely independent of the ASUC's business operations.
- Q: Why are you doing this now? Why can't you wait and see if things get better?
- A: The situation is deteriorating at an alarming rate. The business has lost more than $700,000 since the beginning of the fiscal year, including a record loss of $248,000 in the month of May alone.
- Q: How could the ASUC lose so much money?
- A: The ASUC has not been forthcoming with information about its financial operation, so the campus does not have the full picture. However, it is clear the business operation has not been effectively managed for some time.
- Q: How could the campus let the situation get so bad?
- A: The ASUC has run its own commercial operation. Campus staff have attempted to assist student leaders and their professional managers time and again but they have rejected such assistance.
The accelerated deterioration of the business has left the campus no choice but to remove the ASUC's authorization to run a commercial enterprise on campus.
- Q: The students say they would be OK if the campus would let them bring in an outside company to run the store. Why is the campus blocking this?
- A: The campus has no confidence in their business judgment.
- Q: Who is going to run the new operation?
- A: A self-supporting campus auxiliary enterprise will be established. The campus will put in place competent personnel with experience running a profitable campus bookstore.
- Q: What will the campus do differently?
- A: The campus will follow the model of other successful campus bookstores, which are successful by focusing on their core business.
- Q: What will happen to the employees?
- A: If there is a cooperative transition, the campus is prepared to offer employment to most employees.
- Q: How will students be able to buy textbooks?
- A: This is the campus's highest priority. We are working on several options to assure textbooks will be available in time for the start of the semester. In addition to the campus store, there are two commercial bookstores near campus that handle a large volume of textbook sales.
- Q: How will faculty be able to order them?
- A: Most orders have already been submitted. The campus, through its printing operation, will be able to provide course readers without difficulty.
- Q: Will I be able to buy Cal T-shirts and other stuff?
- A: All such merchandise should be available. As always, there is a wide selection of Cal wear available at other campus outlets and local businesses.
- Q: Will my department still be able to buy supplies from the store?
- A: Again, if there is a cooperative transition, this will be no problem.
- Q: What about the restaurants, travel agency and other shops?
- A: We intend for these businesses to remain open and in operation as usual.
- Q: Are you closing down Eshleman Hall too?
- A: No. This action affects only the ASUC's failing business operation.
- Q: How do other UC campuses run their bookstores? Are they making money?
- A: Irvine, Davis and Santa Cruz campuses operate bookstores under campus administration and are all profitable.