In its seventh meeting, the 20th Undergraduate Senate motioned to give a $1,000 quick grant to Kappa Alpha Theta (Theta) for their annual event, Theta Breakers, denying their request for greater funding.
Because Theta missed the May 18 deadline to apply for a Standard Student Organization Grant, under current Associated Students of Stanford University (ASSU) bylaws they are only eligible for a “quick grant.” Quick grants are capped at $1,000, while Theta requested $4,934.50.
At the meeting, two representatives from Theta petitioned for increased funding from the ASSU. They made the case that the ASSU should make an exception for Theta Breakers because it raises money for Child Advocates of Silicon Valley (CASV), a part of Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA). CASA supports children who have been removed from abusive home environments and placed into foster care while training volunteers to help represent the children in court. Through Theta Breakers and other fundraising events, Theta hopes to raise $50,000 for CASV and support approximately 400 children in 2019.
Some ASSU senators expressed concerns about granting exceptional funding to Theta, citing worries about the precedent such a decision would set. Senators contended that Theta had ample advance notification, including reminders through CardinalSync about the need to submit a standard grant. Senator and appropriations committee chair Gabe Rosen ’19 also noted that multiple cycles of standard grant applications had proceeded since Theta had last requested funding from the ASSU.
Theta Breakers needs funding for race logistics, including securing a location, paying for cleanup, hiring the Stanford University Department of Public Safety to provide security, ensuring the race is timed, providing food and marketing the event.
The standard grant system was implemented in fall 2017 as a result of an ASSU resolution four years ago. According to Rosen, even though the system has been in place for a year, several student groups failed to submit standard grants in time.
Theta claims they were not notified of the change.
“We know that we missed the grant,” said one of the Theta representatives. “The policy changed, and we weren’t aware of the change.”
Rosen also expressed his concern about making special exceptions for Theta.
“If we want to give [Theta] the money, we can, but then we have to do it for other groups in similar circumstances,” he said.
An exception for Theta alone would require about 10 percent of the money ASSU has this quarter for quick grants, so allocating funds for multiple student groups would likely not be feasible.
Rosen expressed further concern that granting additional money to Theta would violate the ASSU bylaws, which mandate that the maximum amount of money for a quick grant be $1,000. Senator Leya Elias ’21 recommended holding a vote to change the rules governing quick grants so that the ASSU can legally grant Theta the necessary funding. However, Rosen objected to changing the rules to accommodate one student group, describing doing so as a slippery slope.
Senator Josh Nkoy ’21 agreed with Rosen and recommended the ASSU approve the $1,000 quick grant and follow up with Theta later. He requested Theta meet with other offices and student groups to request funding. According to the Theta representatives, they have reached out to “everybody and anybody” for funding, including Haas. However, Theta could also request funds from their national organization and from other sororities, fraternities and student groups.
Rosen motioned to initially grant the $1,000 quick grant to Theta. The motion passed with all but one of the present senators approving — Senator Michal Skreta ’21 abstained. The ASSU plans to discuss new funding guidelines and Greek funding in future meetings.
Prior to the discussion about Theta, Senator Melissa Loupeda ’21 reported that she is working with a professor to potentially offer an option to take MATH 51 over the course of two quarters rather than one, citing student concerns that the pacing is too fast.
Rosen is also currently researching the possibility of reducing or even eliminating course fees for First-Generation and Low Income (FLI) students.
At the end of the meeting, the ASSU confirmed Carson Smith ’19 and Jayaram Ravi ’19 to the Constitutional Council.