By Lucy Svoboda
The ASSU Undergraduate Senate passed the ASSU’s 2013-14 Operating Budget in its last full meeting of the year before the transition to the 15th Undergraduate Senate.
The budget includes several notable changes from last year, including the allocation of an additional $5,000 to the Graduate Student Council (GSC) general discretionary fund, $2,000 to the Senate’s general discretionary fund and $1,000 to Senate committee discretionary funds.
Changes were also made to the ASSU Executive’s portion of the budget, with $3,000 transferred from discretionary funds to stipends for the salaries of Executive cabinet members. An additional $1,000 was added to the Executive’s general discretionary fund.
Newly elected Executives Billy Gallagher ’14 and Dan Ashton ’14 were given equal salaries, as they plan to serve as co-Presidents.
According to Senator Viraj Bindra ’15, $1,500 was removed from the Constitutional Council stipends and $3,500 from the Nominations Commission (NomCom) discretionary fund, two proposals that Bindra implemented based on suggestions made in an email from ASSU Assistant Financial Manager Stephen Trusheim ’13 M.S. ’14.
“In the past years, the largest amount that NomCom has ever used was close to $1,000. Removing $3,500 still leaves them with $1,675 in their budget, which is an adequate buffer but frees up more usable money,” Bindra said, adding that there “effectively is no Constitutional Council” and that the money for stipends has gone unused.
NomCom Co-Chair Jonathan York ’13 also spoke at the meeting, notifying the Senate that NomCom has almost completed the process of choosing student representatives for University councils.
According to York, NomCom received 500 applications from 270 students for committee positions. York said that he plans to attend the Senate meeting next week with a final list of the committee’s selections.
“The goal is to fill every single student spot, which hasn’t been done for the last couple of years,” he said. “We’re almost there, and I think we are actually in good shape.”
Sophomore Class Presidents Costner McKenzie ’15 and Monica Dey ’15 also attended the meeting, seeking funds to sponsor an advance screening of “The Great Gatsby” on May 9.
McKenzie and Dey requested a grant of $1,321.20 for the remaining costs that will not be covered by the budget for the Class of 2015 and ticket sales. Students will be charged $8 to attend the event.
According to McKenzie and Dey, the event will be capped at 220 undergraduate students and will not be restricted to sophomores. The requested money would be used to pay for an additional two charter buses in order to be able to transport all attendees and would also cover the EventBrite fee.
Senators then debated the amount of money left in the body’s funds, concluding that they will likely have about $2,500 left in usable funds after reimbursing senators for several purchases made during the year and setting aside funds for the next Senate.
Bindra said that he had also told Miles Unterreiner ’12 M.A. ’13 that the Senate would likely be able to grant about $1,500 to contribute to the incorporation fee for a student-run nonprofit that might operate Suites Dining next year.
Unterreiner is a Daily editor.
According to Bindra, Unterreiner said that the incorporation fee would cost about $5,000, though Bindra said that he had not yet received an official written quote from Unterreiner. The Senate will not grant the money before receiving a quote.
Senator Lauren Miller ’15 informed McKenzie and Dey that they would need to discuss the proposal with Appropriations Committee Deputy Chair Christos Haveles ’15, who was absent from the meeting due to a midterm, and that they will decide on the requested grant by tomorrow evening.
According to Miller, Appropriations Committee Chair Nancy Pham ’14, who has been absent from the Senate’s last four meetings, submitted a letter of resignation to the Senate after deciding to study abroad this quarter.
The Senate’s bylaws state that all senators must remain on campus for the duration of their term “with the exceptions of official university breaks and other brief trips” and stipulate that a senator will be automatically expelled for a breach of this rule.
Though Haveles, who has presented funding bills in Pham’s absence, was absent from the meeting, the Senate unanimously passed $26,395.57 in general fees funding requests and special fees budget modifications.