With the Undergraduate Senate preparing for the December Special Elections, funding reform was the main topic of discussion at the Senate meeting Tuesday night.
A bill authored by Senator John-Lancaster Finley ’16 that proposes a new funding system was on previous notice. If approved during their special Friday meeting and if passed with two-thirds vote from the student body, the Senate would distribute funds to student groups under a new system.
The proposed funding reform bill resembles the SAFE Reform that failed to pass last year but with several notable changes.
In his executive summary of the bill, Finley writes that the proposal “uses SAFE Reform as a skeleton, with the contentious points of the previous proposal removed.” Those contentious points removed from the bill included a Funding Board, a cap on the Undergraduate Fee and the application to hold reserves.
According to Finley, the bill “was created specifically through collaboration with, outreach to and feedback from multiple student groups.”
Despite the Senate’s hope to pass funding reform in two weeks, issues with student group funding have not abated during the interim leading up to the special elections.
Sigma Nu and Kappa Kappa Gamma appeared before the Senate to defend their $12,000 funding application for the annual Snowchella concert benefiting Support for International Change.
Senate Treasurer Eric Theis ’16 brought up the concern that the Senate has already significantly overspent this quarter, blowing past the soft cap of about $90,000.
“After tonight, [Senator] Jackson [Beard] just informed me that we will be $9,000 over the cap for the quarter. [Snowchella] would now put us up to $21,000,” Theis said.
According to Andrew Margrave ’16, the lead organizer of the benefit concert, the event costs significantly less this year than it did last year and therefore the amount of money requested has proportionally decreased as well. Margrave argued that the concert meets the ASSU’s general funding guidelines.
“[The event is] an amazing tradition I think everyone on campus enjoys,” Margrave said.
Finley brought up yet another financial concern about the event, one relating to alcohol. Pointing out that the Office of Alcohol Policy and Education (OAPE) denied Snowchella funding this year, Finley expressed concern of funding a dry concert that did not receive support from OAPE.
In an email sent during the Senate meeting from Ralph Castro, Associate Dean of Student Affairs & Director of OAPE, to Finley, the OAPE explained that they withdrew financial support of the event because of complaints last year that “it wasn’t a true alcohol-free event.”
By the end of the discussion, the Senate decided to postpone voting on the request until their next meeting this Friday.
Additionally, the Senate held officer elections and chose Ana Ordoñez ’17 to serve as Senate Chair for the remainder of the year, winning out over Finley and Anthony Ghosn ’16. With current Chair Ben Holston ’15 and current Deputy Chair Victoria Kalumbi ’15 going abroad winter quarter, the Senate must elect new senators to fill those vacancies.
The Senate’s next meeting will be held this Friday at 7 p.m. in Old Union room 104.
Contact Chelsey Sveinsson at svein ‘at’ stanford.edu.