At its Feb. 12 meeting, the ASSU Undergraduate Senate approved a bill to lower the percent increase in funding that special fees groups can request without having to petition the student body.
Before the bill was passed, special fees groups that received funding the previous year could request a 10 percent budget increase—in addition to inflation—without having to petition. This year, special fees groups will only be allowed to request a 7.1 percent increase in the absence of any petition.
Appropriations Committee member Daniela Olivos ’15 said that the committee created the bill after reexamining funding data from previous years. Historically, special fees groups have almost never pulled more than ten percent of their budget from reserves in any given year. This led the committee to decide on a lower allowed budget increase of five percent plus 2.1 percent inflation, according to Olivos.
“When we were reevaluating the 10 percent increase, we thought that it was a substantial amount,” Olivos said. “We were also thinking that since 10 percent is such a big number, groups should petition if they want to have another event or have something larger.”
Appropriations Committee Chair Nancy Pham ’14 said that financial officers were informed of the change at a mandatory workshop for special fees groups, but that some groups may have been confused by the fact that the online documents had not been updated and still reflect last year’s allowed budget increase.
However, Pham downplayed the probability of any special fees groups having difficulty with the new policy, saying that the committee will work with groups who would like to cut down their budget to the 7.1 percent increase but were not able to do so.
“We haven’t received any emails about it,” said Olivos, adding that financial officers were first told about the change at a meeting on Feb. 4. “There has been time for financial officers to submit their budget and ask questions.”
The Senate voted unanimously to pass the bill.
ASSU Assistant Financial Manager Stephen Trusheim ’13 M.S. ’14 announced that Stanford Student Enterprises (SSE) will be launching a low-risk loans program for ticketed events within the next few weeks.
Trusheim said that the program would give senators the option to loan money to groups who need funding for ticketed events upfront, with the expectation that these groups will pay back the Senate after collecting money for tickets. Historically, the Senate has subsidized these events from general fees funds and allowed groups to keep the ticket money.
Trusheim worked with Senator Lauren Miller ’15 and Olivos to upload the ASSU’s governing documents onto a Wiki form. In the past, senators have discussed the difficulty of finding and updating the governing documents.
“It’s going to be an easily accessible version of the documents and also provide a way for the Senate to go in and amend them when a bill gets passed,” Miller said about the Wiki. “It’s locked so that only certain people can edit the documents, but it’s an easy way for anyone to go on and see things.”
Senators also passed two Publications Board bills, allocating $6,000 to the Stanford Undergraduate Research Journal and $3,333 to the Stanford Journal of International Relations, though Publications Board chair Kathleen Chaykowski ’13 did not attend the meeting to present the bills. Chaykowski is a Daily staffer.