Student Assembly minority students liaison Moriah Adeghe ’21 has been elected the next vice president of finance, the Assembly announced in an email Monday.
As V.P. of finance, Adeghe will chair the appropriations committee during a particularly important year.
Next semester, the committee will make decisions on the 2020-2022 byline funding cycle, including setting the Undergraduate Student Activity Fee, the mandatory fee that every undergraduate Cornell student pays. The committee also determines what proportion of the funds will be distributed to campus-wide organizations including the Student Activities Funding Commission, the Convocation Committee and ALANA Intercultural Board for the next two academic years.
Also elected were other members of the S.A. executive board, including current minority students liaison Colin Benedict ’21 as vice president of diversity and inclusion and current freshman representatives Valentina Xu ’22 and Indigo Pavlov ’22 as vice president of internal operations and vice president of external operations, respectively.
When Adeghe assumes her new position along with the rest of the new executive board on June 1, her main priority is to be “knowledgeable,” Adeghe told The Sun in a message.
First elected to the position of minority students liaison in a special election in February, Adeghe previously served on the Diversity and Inclusion and the Academic Policy Committees, and has centered her platform on helping financially disadvantaged students.
“My goal is to be as knowledgeable about all the orgs, their histories, their financial history, the SA bylaws, etc. because when a question is asked of me, I don’t want to not have an answer,” Adeghe said.
In the 2018-2019 academic year, the student activity fee for every undergraduate student was $234.00. Combined with Cornell’s current undergraduate enrollment of 15,182 students, the total income from student activity fee was a whopping $3,552,588.
Of that amount, nearly half goes to SAFC — the largest funder of non-byline student organizations on campus — which receives $98, or nearly 42 percent of every student’s activity fee, for a total of around $1,492,086.96. The second and third largest byline organizations, the Slope Day Programming Board and the Convocation Committee, receive $19.00 and $16.50 per student fee, for total budgets of $288,458 and $250,503, respectively.
According to Adeghe, the appropriations committee consists of eight internally elected S.A. members and six community members, who can apply to be on the committee in the fall semester.
As chair of the appropriations committee, Adeghe will only vote in the case of a tie. Still, she hopes to influence the committee by promoting “diversity and inclusion as much possible.”
“When thinking about byline funding, I personally am thinking about how these orgs can benefit as many students as possible in order to promote equity,” Adeghe said.
The last funding cycle, which occurred in fall 2017 and was led by former S.A. V.P. of finance Gabe Kaufman ’18 , found itself the subject of multiple controversies after the committee voted to completely defund the Cornell Cinema, as The Sun previously reported.
The Cornell Cinema has not applied for funding during this year’s cycle, according to Adeghe.
As for a change in fee, Adeghe said an increase could be wise if used efficiently.
“Truly, since I am not voting most of these decisions lie in the hands of committee members,” said Adeghe. “But my personal philosophy is that if orgs are using the money that they have wisely and effectively and have plans to effectively use more money, then I don’t see an issue with an increase. But also keeping in mind that students are directly affected by the [Student Activities Fee] and that the fee maybe shouldn’t increase past a certain point.”