The Appropriations Committee is gearing up for one more round.
The committee, which is part of the ASSU Undergraduate Senate and holds some of the purse strings of Stanford’s hundreds of student groups, is set to draft interim funding policies for the 2010-11 school year this week after former committee chair Anton Zietsman ’12 urged it on Wednesday to move quickly.
The committee met late on Thursday and elected Rafael Vasquez ’12 as its chair, and is set to meet on Saturday to hear early discretionary funding requests before most ASSU activity settles for the summer, according to Senate Chair Michael Cruz ’12.
The guidelines, which are subject to revision by each year’s committee, lay out what voluntary student organizations (VSOs) may use general and special fee money to do. Students groups are eligible to receive up to $6,000 in general fees annually, and 49 groups secured extra money for next year — more than $1.7 million in total — in April’s special fees election, including The Daily.
Financial officers for student groups must appear in front of the Appropriations Committee before their funding requests are put to a vote of the entire Senate.
Funding policies were the topic of some tension during Zietsman’s term. His committee was considered somewhat strict in approving funding requests; its policies ultimately contributed to a lower spring quarter refund rate and a lower project special fee charge per student next year.
Smaller procedural issues, however, persisted. Up-to-date policies and committee meeting minutes were missing from the Senate’s website for part of the year, drawing complaints from some financial officers. In January, Zietsman called a special “review session” to revise the 2010-11 special fees funding policy and allowed a day of input before recommending the changes as final to the Senate.
Zietsman at the time defended that move, saying, “The policy review process has been sort of very internal to the Senate. It’s not customary to invite or notify all the financial officers when reviewing policies year to year.”
His reminder to successors this Wednesday showed different priorities, however: “GET VSO INPUT or people will hate you,” he wrote in an e-mail to ASSU leaders.
His successors on the committee include Senators Madeline Hawes ‘13, Ben Jensen ‘12, Stewart Macgregor-Dennis ‘13, Kamil Saeid ‘13, Carolyn Simmons ‘13, Juany Torres ‘13 and Vasquez, who were named on Tuesday after ranking their interests in the Senate’s five committees. The committee will choose its own chairperson.
Hawes is also the deputy chair of the Senate, where each of the committee members is serving his or her first term.
Cruz, the Senate’s only second-term member, served on the Appropriations Committee this year. Torres attended many committee meetings as a Senate associate, according to Zietsman.
Of the interim policies the group will draft this week, “probably they’ll be similar to the policies used last year,” Cruz said.
Adam Beberg, a doctoral student in computer science who is involved with the Graduate Student Council, wished the new Senate well ahead of the last-minute Appropriations activity: “Good luck in 2010-11 (and on finals),” he wrote to senators. “It’s going to be a busy year for the ASSU as the state, county, and city go broke and that squeezes students.”