An ASUC Senate debate over financial spending at Wednesday’s meeting highlighted economic worries in the ASUC student group funding and sponsorship system.
According to the ASUC Funding and Sponsorship website, a student group can request up to $1,500 from the Senate Contingency or Greek Opportunity Funds to help fund specific costs for an event or organization. However, with an increase in student groups on campus this year compared to last year and the current economic climate, more groups have been requesting money from the ASUC.
SQUELCH! Senator Noah Ickowitz said he was worried that the ASUC was creating a climate where every group is applying for $1,500 because it was advertised as the maximum, instead of a lesser amount. The financial committee has spent a lot more money this year by this time than they had last year, according to Ickowitz.
“It should be a rule not to touch the $1,500 cap unless you really need it.” said Student Action Senator Safeena Mecklai. “That ($1,500) should be an exception, not a rule.”
Independent Senator Nairi Shirinian said the finance committee has been working to cut bill proposals, but said that “we shouldn’t be at a place where we’re cutting a bill just for the sake of cutting it.”
The finance committee has also been requiring more comprehensive budgets from student groups, said Shirian.
The issue of the $1,500 cap moved from the hypothetical to the actual with the vote for Senate Bill 76A, which asked for $2,000. This bill would fund a charity event hosted by two student groups for scholarships for undocumented students, said CalSERVE Senator Brisa Diaz.
“Simple planning, like choosing not such an expensive venue, could have helped,” said Ickowitz, after it was presented that the venue for the event costs $9,000. “Somewhere down the line we’re going to be taking money from other groups.”
Other senate members highlighted the benefits of this event.
“I put my name on a bill because this is my community,” said Diaz, “I represent the whole Latino community here, and this is all they ask.”
After a ten minute recess the senate reconvened with an amendment to the bill decreasing the amount given to $1,500. The bill passed unanimously.
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