C.U. Tonight Commission — an organization that finances non-alcoholic weekend night events hosted by student organization and recently accused of racially discriminatory funding practices — rebuked proposed amendments to the Student Assembly charter that would empower the S.A. appropriations committee to review the commission’s funding decisions.
The appropriations committee proposed the watchdog amendments in response to the organization’s March funding decisions considered by the assembly to be racially discriminatory and in violation of procedures mandated by the commission’s constitution, The Sun previously reported.
The amendments to the S.A. charter’s appendix B, if passed, empowers the V.P. of finance and the appropriations committee to approve the commission’s funding evaluation rubric and review all of its funding decisions to confirm that the rubrics were properly applied, according to Gabe Kaufman ’18, S.A. vice president of finance. The amendments also sanction the committee to consider appeals of funding decisions filed by student organizations.
“They interpret diversity in a different way. They want to fund only events that appeal to everybody generally. And I said that’s a problematic way to interpret diversity,” Kaufman said in a March assembly meeting where the S.A. sharply condemned the C.U. Tonight’s funding decisions that led 10 organizations to file appeals to the S.A.
While recognizing that there were shortcomings in the commission’s operations, C.U. Tonight advisor and program coordinator in campus activities Chantel Moseby argued she “does not see the point” of the appropriations committee approving the commission’s evaluation rubric as she alone already provides adequate oversight for the commission and the vice president of finance is already represented in C.U. Tonight as an ex-officio voting member.
“Coming into this role, this position, C.U. Tonight had not been functioning and that was left up to the Student Assembly to try make sure it was functioning and it was not,” Moseby said. “Me, as an advisor, I would say why am I not followed by when I do have multiple degrees and certification in diversity and inclusion … to advise students to make the right decision.”
While “not questioning [Moseby’s] background and expertise,” Rebecca Herz ’18 stressed that the commission’s failure to apply the rubrics this semester justified the amendments as a “check and balance system” to the C.U. Tonight’s operation.
“Why is there an issue with the Student Assembly also being a check and balances? Especially since, somehow, they had an advisor, the rubrics, the appeal [process,] … and it didn’t happen and they had so many mishandlings?” Hertz said.
In response to these accusations of the shortfalls of the commissions, despite having an advisor, Moseby said that several students came to her office and said “C.U. Tonight has done nothing but to help.” However, S.A. president Jung Won Kim ’18 said that it was the organization applying for C.U. Tonight funding that “requested the S.A. have better checks on C.U. Tonight.”
The proposed amendment is part of a larger S.A. resolution drafted by the student-run committee that improves the transparency of byline organization finances and grants greater auditory power to the Vice President of finance and the committee. The resolution was tabled until next week to make time to reflect feedback from the assembly and the byline organizations they govern.
The resolution endorses other amendments to the S.A. charter that granted “immediate access” to club finances for the V.P. of Finance, prohibited paying compensations from the student activity fee account, and encouraged the Student Activity Funding Commission to restrict its expenditure projection increase within three percent per year.
Several of these amendments were introduced in response to the controversial November decision to defund Cornell Cinema, which concealed its wage structure to the S.A. citing labor laws and paid professional staff wages using student activity fees. The amendments will render a violation of appendix B both of these activities.