At Thursday’s Student Assembly meeting, representatives elected a new vice president of finance — Valeria Valencia ’23, first generation student representative at-large.
Valencia’s election ended a weeks-long process that started when Vice President of Finance Morgan Baker ’23 resigned on Oct. 21 in the middle of the biannual byline funding cycle, which her position oversees. The S.A. vice president of finance runs the S.A. appropriations committee. Every two years, this committee allocates funding out of the student activity fee to clubs that apply through a process called byline funding.
After Baker’s resignation, S.A. president Anuli Ononye ’22 announced that she and Baker had agreed to appoint Valencia as the next vice president of finance, in accordance with a rule used by other committees to fill seats after resignations.
However, during the SA meeting on Oct. 21, some representatives objected to Valencia’s appointment on procedural grounds. Valencia was instead made interim vice president of finance in mid-October until the assembly could hold an election.
After a meeting running overtime discouraged members from calling a vote two weeks ago and after a special Nov. 9 meeting to hold an election was canceled the night before, representatives heard speeches on Thursday from the candidates and voted.
Running against Valencia was LGBTQIA+ liaison at-large Dillon Eisman ’22. Valencia said she thinks other representatives’ opposition to her appointment wasn’t based on personal animosity but rather a desire to have an official election to legitimize the process.
“In terms of why some members didn’t want me to serve as vice president of finance, I don’t think they ever said anything related to me. It wasn’t personal,” Valeria said. “They just wanted to have an election.”
Valencia’s opponent, Eisman, began campaigning with a Nov. 3 email to representatives promoting his vision for an appropriations committee. He wrote that he wanted the appropriations committee to not only distribute club funding but act as a hub for entrepreneurship and work to improve campus events.
Eisman wrote that, if elected, he would standardize the byline application process and reduce restrictions on umbrella organizations — organizations that oversee multiple other campus groups — distributing funding to their sub-organizations. He also wants to improve communication between the appropriations committee and applicants for funding.
“It is a bit unfair to have an organization prepare all their financials and present their materials just to be informed by the [vice president of finance] that their funding is significantly reduced or cut entirely with no further plan of action,” Eisman wrote in an email to The Sun. “There should be some sort of consulting beforehand to allow organizations the opportunity to work with the appropriations committee.”
In addition to describing her three semesters of experience on the appropriations committee to members in a pre-election speech, Valencia told The Sun that she thinks byline-funded organizations need to be given a chance to provide feedback on the process.
“It’s really easy to be a committee member and ask for a bunch of data… [but] it was a lot to ask for from org[anizations],” Valencia said. “I hope to collect feedback from the byline-funded org[anizations] and see where we have room for improvement, because… we can make changes to make the process a lot easier, simpler, [and] more accessible.”
Looking ahead towards the rest of the year, Valencia said she’s eager to meet the challenge of taking on one of the S.A.’s most time-consuming roles during a contentious byline funding cycle.
“Though I’ve been serving as interim [vice president of finance] since Oct. 21, it’s exciting to now actually have the position,” Valencia said. “It’s a lot of work, but I like the work that we do.”