Jason Ben Nathan / Sun Senior Photographer

March 28, 2016

Student Assembly Addresses Funding Allocation, Surplus Spending

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The Student Assembly discussed a revision to the regulation of their Student Activity Fee and the allocation measures allowed to byline funded organizations in a meeting Thursday. Members also determined how they will gift their $39,000 budget surplus.

Matthew Stefanko ’16, vice president of finance, proposed a resolution that he said would hold student groups more accountable for how they allocate their funding.

“We haven’t really gone after groups that do not use their money appropriately in the past and that’s something that we should and will do,” he said.

Jordan Chessin’18, transfer at large, suggested that a clause about reserving rooms in Willard Straight Hall should be added into the revision.

“The Willard Straight Hall Student Union Board should definitely add something about [Student Assembly] having the room or having the right to their service,” Chessin said. “That’s a conversation that we need to have.”

Several assembly members agreed that it is important for the S.A. to have access to accessible public rooms to hold their meetings.

“I think that the use of this building as a whole is something that we have to look into,” said Gabriel Kaufman ’18, undesignated representative at large. “I think we should put it into Appendix B that the Student Assembly and other byline organizations have some priority over programming.”

However, Stefanko was opposed to this suggestion, saying he considers it “presumptuous” to assume that the S.A. has can claim priority over another group in accessing the same space.

“I am not comfortable to say that we are an important enough group as a student body that we get to tell other organizations that their funding could be revoked depending on whether or not they listen to what we say about them being able to be in [the Memorial Room],” Stefanko said.

This resolution is still in the process of being futher discussed and revised.

The assembly also discussed Resolution 40 — which calls for a reallocation of the Student Assembly’s surplus of $39,000 to Student Helping Students Fund, Social Consultants, Diversity Innovation Fund and the creation of Diversity Fellows.

“We were thinking about ways to establish programs or pilot programs that would have somewhat of a lasting effect,” Stefanko said. “The surplus was paid into by students via the student activity fee over some number of years so we want to establish programs that will last longer.”

Emma Johnston ’16, executive vice president, added that the programs the assembly supports focus on aiding the aims of other student organizations.

“We wanted to make sure that we aren’t reinventing the wheel,” Johnston said. “We are trying to support programs that are already in existence that are there to provide help for other existing groups. These are places that are already doing really great work so we are confident that this is a good use of the surplus money.”

Johnston also said the creation of the Diversity Fellows will further the S.A.’s effort to support resource centers with limited budgets.

“The Diversity Fellows will support students who are underrepresented or students that are facing certain difficult issues because of their identity,” Johnston said. “We already know these existing resource centers are good at doing that but we know that they are understaffed and the fellowships will ameliorate the lack of resources to these centers.”

The assembly also passed Resolution 49, which reminded faculty members to limit the workload that they assign to students over spring break.

“[The resolution] asks the faculty senate to enforce the resolution that they actually passed in 2011 in a stronger language,” Kaufman said. “It’s a way of reminding the faculty that this break is supposed to be the students time off and this is the time for them to relax. It’s more of a moral persuasion and that’s the purpose of this resolution.”