Graduate Student Council (GSC) members expressed sharp disapproval of the council’s overspending on voluntary student organization (VSO) funding in Wednesday’s GSC meeting.
With the fiscal year coming to a close, the GSC found itself financially in the red. Unaware of the actual budget due to “MyGroups confusion,” the 2009-10 GSC approved $189,282.75 in VSO funding during the year.
The originally set budget was $163,000. According to funding committee chair Krystal St. Julien, a graduate student in biochemistry, the GSC may be unable to approve funding requests until July 1, when the new fiscal year begins.
“I’m not very happy, to say the least,” St. Julien said. “Next year, this shit’s not happening again.”
St. Julien said the GSC would need to keep a “tighter reign” on which events get funded for the upcoming year.
VSOs “shouldn’t just get the money just because they’re within the rules of the Appropriations Committee,” she said. “The GSC needs to figure out if yes, this is a worthwhile way to spend our money or no, this is not a worthwhile way to spend our money.”
The council plans to draw funds from a “rainy day” reserve account. Members unanimously approved a transfer of $26,283.
GSC member Crystal Yin, a graduate student in management science and engineering, also brought up the issue of regulating the number of VSOs on campus. Yin claimed that many groups were formed only for the sake of sponsoring other groups.
“We need to get inactive groups to deactivate themselves,” Yin said. “They only do co-sponsorships to help other groups have more funding, but they’re not doing anything besides co-sponsorship. This prevents active groups from being registered, since they have to differentiate themselves from existing groups that may not be doing anything.”
“‘Inactivity’ would be determined by the SAL [Student Activities and Leadership],” Yin added.
Other members agreed with Yin’s proposal. Ryan Peacock, the former GSC financial officer, explained the importance of “weeding out the groups.”
“[These inactive groups’] only purpose is to support these large events on campus,” Peacock said. “It’s like on their description, it says ‘a group used to suck out more funding.’ It’s unbelievable. It’s like you have no shame!”
ASSU President Angelina Cordona ’11 said she plans to work on the issue with the executive chair for social life, Warner Sallman ’11. The council met Sallman and other cabinet members on Wednesday; it is set to vote on their confirmation next week.
GSC members grilled the chairs as they discussed ideas for the upcoming year.
Taylor Savage ’13 described his idea for centralizing VSO information onto one website for more convenient viewing.
“[The website] will be like an information center, with all the information like events and descriptions of groups,” he said.
Adam Beberg, a doctoral student in computer science, said the idea had already been piloted.
“The weak link isn’t that we don’t have a website,” Beberg said. “The issue is that no groups use it.”
Peacock, a doctoral student in chemical engineering, is the only graduate student in next year’s cabinet.