December 5, 2013

ALANA Granted More Funding

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The African, Latino, Asian, Native American Students Intercultural Programming Board receive $14,175 more a year in byline funding than previously recommended by the Student Assembly appropriations committee, the Student Assembly voted on Thursday.

In a 19-3-0 vote, the S.A. approved giving ALANA — which helps fund multicultural organizations — $108,675, rather than $94,500 a year. While the group had argued that an increase in funding was necessary for it to support its organizations, the appropriations committee initially argued that ALANA should have its budget cut because it had not been fiscally responsible.

In addition to ALANA, the Student Assembly Finance Commission and Big Red Bikes also received increases from lower appropriations’ recommendations, SAFC increasing from $1,190,295 to $1,203,120 and Big Red Bikes increasing from no funding to $13,500. Overall, the 2014-2016 Student Activity Fee will be $3,186,000 — $236 per student — annually, a three percent increase from last cycle’s $3,091,000. The fee will go toward supporting 29 organizations.

Though the vast majority of the assembly voted to approve ALANA’s $94,500 recommended allocation on Nov. 21, most of the members believed that an allocation of $108,675 — which is still a decrease from last cycle’s $118,125 — would be more fair for the organization.

“ALANA’s one of the few organizations that actually attempts to fix the campus climate issues,” said Jevan Hutson ’16, LGBT liaison at-large for the S.A. “I don’t think there is another organization on campus that can do what ALANA does, and now is not the time to give them less money. It’s important to step back and understand the perspective, weighing objective numbers versus what ALANA actually does on campus.”

However, Geoffrey Block ’14, VP of finance for the S.A. and chair of the appropriations committee, said he thought that the S.A.’s quick discussion over the allocation amendment wrongfully trumped the large amount of time the appropriations committee took to come to its recommended amount.

“I think this was a mistake. I think [the assembly] caved to political pressure,” Block said.

Matthew Henderson ’16, CALS representative and member of the appropriations committee, said he understood the motivation behind amending the recommended allocation. At the same time, he said, he did not think the amendment was necessary for ALANA to function properly in the next funding cycle.

“I think the increase is valid for all of the new communities and all of the groups in the Umbrella Programming Fund, but I really hope it doesn’t go to waste,” Henderson said. “I think they could have done a lot of the new things that they wanted with more efficient spending.”

ALANA Vice President Olivia Obodoagha ’15, however, called the amended allocation a “relief.”

“We’re definitely going to have to make up the difference [from last cycle] going into the next few years by fundraising and gaining more support, but it’s a relief that we aren’t going to have to deal with the repercussions of losing twenty thousand dollars,” Obodoagha said. “I think based on a lot of the appropriation committee’s complaints, the decrease to [$108,675] was a fair compromise.”

ALANA President Karan Javaji ’14, however, said the solution was not ideal.

“I’m cautiously happy,” Javaji said. “It’s obviously not the best outcome, but I think as representatives, the S.A. listened to the community.”