The ASSU Undergraduate Senate opened Tuesday night’s meeting with a discussion featuring Jeanette Smith-Laws, director of operations and student unions. After talking about how to better utilize spaces in Old Union and Tresidder, funding bills for various student groups were all passed unanimously, with only a few abstentions due to conflicts of interest with senators.
If you’ve followed our column over the past few months, you’ve probably noticed that we’re somewhat critical of several aspects of Stanford. We’ve tried to weigh in on the most controversial topics on campus, but as the joke goes about the liberal/conservative divide in Synergy being drawn around paper towels, conflicts on campus are on relatively few fringe questions.
Following this year’s elections, most campus publications received their special fees requests with the exception of the Stanford Chaparral and the Claw Magazine. These results have forced the latter groups to re-evaluate their budgets and develop new strategies for funding in the next year.
However, only a minority of the student population knows the ins and outs of the special fees system. The process began during winter quarter, when each Voluntary Student Organization (VSO) submitted an application to the ASSU with its proposed budget and request for special fees.
Instead of putting forth a reasonable argument to change ASSU funding policies (“Something that Actually Needs Saving,” April 4, 2011), Zack Hoberg and Dave Grundfest chose to mislead and denigrate fellow Stanford students. Zack and Dave blame “90 graduate students” and the “ridiculous policy that one population can dictate the other’s funding decision” for the rejection of joint Special Fees for FLiCKS. Let’s examine two facts, one conveniently omitted, the other completely glossed over.
At this point, we’re as tired of the ASSU election process as anyone, but with the results in, we thought it important to point out an unfortunate result due to a ridiculous technicality. Thanks to exactly 90 grad students, FLiCKS lost it’s special fees for the coming year.
Student election season is here again, which means it is time for everyone on campus to be confused about Special Fees. Special Fees is an amorphous vat of money outside of general fees to fund student groups that can’t be funded through normal bureaucratic channels. Because of the opacity of student group finances, groups take advantage of the system and stretch the boundaries of Special Fees legitimacy for their own benefit.