Rent control key issue in today's local elections
By Cliff Schmidt
The Undergraduate Association will hold a special UA Council meeting tomorrow to discuss student activities funding.
The UA is considering supporting a "Student Activities Funding Proposal," which will divert a small part of every undergraduate's tuition directly to the UA's Financial Board to be allocated to student activities. President Paul E. Gray '54 has "pledged to offset any student activities fee from tuition," according to a letter sent to all student activity leaders by UA Vice President Andrew P. Strehle '91.
In other words, after the annual tuition is set, an amount still to be determined will go to FinBoard rather than to the department budgets. This means a much greater percentage of the funds received by student activities will be allocated through FinBoard.
According to UA President Paul L. Antico '91, the current annual amount of approximately $67,000 given to FinBoard to fund activities has not been significantly increased since the late 1960s. Using $20 to $30 of every undergraduate's tuition could make a substantial difference in funds available student activities, he said.
Strehle is collecting information from the activities concerning how much they usually receive from the departments and how much they need. With this information he hopes to come up with a figure that should more than compensate for the money that some departments may cut back.
If the UA decides tomorrow evening to go ahead with the proposal, the student body may be voting on it by this December. If passed, the proposal will go into effect in the 1991-1992 academic year, according to Antico.
There is also some concern about the wording used in the proposal's name. Although, if passed, the proposal would not cost the students anything, technically the transfer of funds is a fee. However, many members of the UA do not want to call it a fee, because they are afraid that students will interpret it to mean an additional charge. Currently it is referred to as the "Student Activities Funding Proposal."
FinBoard Chair Nicola J. Bird '91 says that the proposal will make it easier for activities to get money because it would "all be taken care of by one body." According to Bird, activities ask for approximately three times more than FinBoard has to offer. With a larger budget, FinBoard would be able to satisfy many more requests for funding.
Student activities are not the only groups that could benefit from this, according to Bird. For example, HowtoGAMIT and the Course Evaluation Guide, both of which have had funding cuts by the Dean's Office, could be funded by FinBoard, Bird said.
Bill Robert '90, president of the Association of Student Activities, is also interested in the idea of a direct allocation of money to student activities; however, he feels that there may be a more important issue.
In the past, FinBoard has been accused of questionable fairness with regards to funds distribution. Many are concerned about whether FinBoard is capable of such a responsibility.
"Finboard has improved a great deal," noted Robert, but he still argued that investigating a change in structure of FinBoard is "just as important as getting an activities fee."
"The entire structure of FinBoard needs to be carefully investigated," Robert said. Robert said he does not question the ability of FinBoard members, but rather structural questions such as the number of people on the board and how they are elected.
Antico agreed that the structure and procedures of FinBoard should be investigated. He said he plans to work with FinBoard and other committees to develop new ideas in order to assure that FinBoard will be competent should the proposal pass.