October 18, 2011

A Funding Manifesto

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Everyone needs cash to survive — that’s nothing new.The sleeping-baggers and tent-pitchers of Occupy Wall Street only arrived at day 33 of their protest against today’s smelly financial predicament through donations and about $5,000 daily in contributions. $5,000 in contributions should sound familiar — it’s the Student Assembly Finance Commission’s funding cap from last semester, now reduced to $2,700. But let us pause before we throw a giant slumberparty-bonfire on the Slope in protest and ask: what would the founding fathers do? The Stamp Act Congress met in New York City on Oct. 19, 1765 to issue a Declaration of Rights and Grievances decrying Stamp Act taxes on British colonists’ paper documents. Delegates were really pissed, but I doubt their short-numbered list of complaints would sway the SAFC.Incisive Anglo-Irish satirist Jonathan Swift died on Oct. 19, 1745, but we still read his ironic invective against Irish poverty policies, A Modest Proposal. Sparing no detail, Swift illustrates the absurdity of Ireland’s predicament better than a baby splatter-paints: “A young healthy child well nursed, is a most delicious and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked or boiled … very proper for Landlords, who as they have already devoured most of the Parents, seem to have the best Title to the Children.” What would Swift say about the SAFC budget?An Immodest Proposal: A Declaration of Rights and Grievances, should rights, in fact, exist, and thee, as it were, feel aggrieved towards their consistency and adjudicators. It is a melancholy object to Cornellians when they see the streets, dining halls and dorms crowded with idle habitat-humanitarians, beekeepers, belly-dancers, barbellers, dance dance revolutionaries, mushroom and fungi fantatics, origamists, quidditchians, medievalists, meteorologists, runway fashionistas, Rubik’s cubists, squirrel enthusiasts, tea tasters, ukelelists and unicyclists, not to mention mobs of club sportsmen.These students, instead of being able to work for their honest livelihood, must beg sustenance for their helpless clubs, whose freshmen will doubtless become thieves in want of funded fun.The Student Assembly Financiers’ Commission presides over such fun for a reported 442 organizations this semester, 71 more than last spring. In conjunction with requests for, on average, 30.8 percent more funds — say $6,500 rather than $5,000 — the new maximum of $2,700 must be a punishment for a wretched communal wrong of biblical proportions. Accordingly, I advance upon each and every one of you to borrow less fruit from dining halls and return all sledding trays in a prompt and cleanly manner.But a warm welcome to our 71 new associates; may you find happiness in frugality. With the Commission’s goal of blindly socializing all funding, many regard the first year organizational maximum of $1,500 bizarre and, mathematically speaking, quite obviously $1,200 less than $2,700.Certainly, many weekend trips will remain grounded, including Habitat for Humanity volunteers who want to alleviate homelessness, engineers seeking to further human progress and efficiency, and club athletes desirous of embodying school spirit. Organizations may compensate with spirited, independently funded bake sales, car washes and traveling circuses. Far be it from our Financiers to use funds creatively and invite organizations to meet one another, share initiatives or schedule similar trips on identical weekends — the social awkwardness of enduring opportunities with other Cornell students in similar clubs could prove traumatic. Instead, we have the the panacea of a Spring Advance Option, which grants organizations $5,000 this semester, with the promise of up to an additional $400 next semester — only a 92-percent decrease in second semester funding.Less than one percent of organizations have reapplied to the Commissioners for funding, as opposed to 10 percent the preceding semester. Treasurers of funded organizations must have responded to personalized paper airplanes with a consensus that laziness bordering on contentment, rather than abject hopelessness, was the likely impetus for declining to reapply. In fallacious interviews, 289 of the 432 presidents of clubs signed a petition to boost fundraising by robbing other groups’ treasurers. I shall now, therefore, humbly propose my own thoughts, which, having maturely weighed the schemes and computations of our adjudicators, I hope will not be liable to the least objection:The charge of presumed maximal monies amassed from the 71 new organizations — $106,500 — and the identical 371 from last semester — $1,001,700 — combine to $1,108,200, or $79.53 for each of the 13,935 undergraduate students, and shall be divided as such for each student to decide which organization they should like to fund. In this instance, the University has specified, one’s self may be categorized as an organization.Therefore, should the number of organizations, philanthropic or otherwise, overwhelm you, know that said monies can circulate among ourselves. The poorer students will have something valuable of their own, which by law may help to pay their landlord’s rent, or else $8.79 a day for food. Consider the sumptuous possibilities: a CTB sandwich and bubble tea, three and a half slices of pizza and a bowl of bootlegged fruit loops, a spicy-crunchy white tuna sushi roll, twelve samosas, or a salad, as well as a weekly rack of 30 stones. Or, should you prefer money for clothes, movies and the like, perhaps only six stones.Rather than squandering extra time establishing a camaraderie that would likely extend no farther than college graduation, students may now dispatch of school work in a more timely fashion and have no recourse but to frequent taverns with an uninhibited fervor, or else visit other institutions and enjoy their spirited collectivism, and quite possibly transfer so as to fully enjoy said privileges. I can think of no one objection that will possibly be raised against this proposal, unless it should be urged that the number of people will be hereby much lessened in the University. But this eventuality should not be undervalued, for if 46 percent of students revel in a mass exodus, our extracurricular budget will thence balance itself.I profess, in sincereness of my heart, that I have no other motive than the public good of my University. Many other advantages might be enumerated, such as a renewed love for meaningful conversation with friends, but this, and many others, I omit, being studious of brevity.Jacob Kose is a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences. He may be reached at jkose@cornellsun.com. Scrambled Eggs ap­pears alternate Wednesdays this semester.

Original Author: Jacob Kose