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Finboard Chair Resigns; Spring Budget Approved

By Christopher Falling
Staff Reporter

The final spring budget recommendations of the Undergraduate Association Finance Board were approved by the UA Council at their Dec.1 meeting. But the vote was overshadowed by the resignation yesterday of Finboard Chairman David Lee '95.

The UA Executive Committee was planning to consider Lee's performance at a meeting tonight, said UA President Vijay P. Sankaran '95.

In a letter to Sankaran, Lee said he resigned because he was overwhelmed with coursework. Lee is the second Finboard chair to resign in as many years. David J. Kessler '94 and two other officers resigned last year following a controversy about the Bush Fund, a discretionary account for the UAP.

"The time that was required for Finboard to complete the vouchers and budget compilations was greater than David could provide,'' said UAC Floor Leader Russell S. Light '98.

"The most likely replacement for the ex-chairman is Vice Chairman Evelyn Kao '95,'' Sankaran said. "She has been performing the duties of chairman for the most part in the Finboard meetings.''

"Hopefully we can get some good officers for the next term and Finboard will be more organized,'' Sankaran said.

UA approves budget

Finboard recommends to the UAC how to distribute about $80,000 of MIT funding to various student organizations, Kao said. The UA uses $20,000 itself, which leaves about $30,000 per semester to be allocated to other student groups, she said.

The process of applying for funding begins when student organizations submit a proposed itemized budget to Finboard each term, Kao said. Finboard then holds budget compilation meetings that last for about two days, she said.

"We feel we should be able to treat groups fairly,'' Kao said. "But it is to the group's advantage to have a well written budget and have a member present during budget compilations.''

Student groups can ask for time at these meetings to defend the budget they submitted to Finboard, after which Finboard comes to a consensus on how much money to provide to each group, Kao said.

"This year we had 76 groups asking for about $120,000,'' Kao said. "Obviously we cannot give the groups all that they want.''

Finboard tries to give preference to activities that do more for the MIT community, Kao said. The groups that received the most money this year $2,000 each were the Indian students group Sangam, the Black Student Union, and Gay, Lesbians, Bisexuals, Transgenders, and Friends at MIT, she said.

These groups received a large amount of funding "partly because they are large student organizations with many active members and have many events open to the MIT community,'' Kao said.

Unhappy groups can appeal

Most groups receive a lump sum allocation, meaning they can spend the money on whatever they deem fit, Kao said. Some groups have a no-food restriction placed on their funds, she said.

"Finboard feels that money should be spent for events and speakers more than being used to pay for food,'' Kao said. A special consideration is taken for cultural groups where cultural food is a large part of the organization, she added.

"Finboard advises some groups to go elsewhere, such as the Race Relations Committee, for their funding, Kao said. Finboard may also give out loans in lieu of direct funding, she said.

Any group unhappy with its funding can appeal to Finboard in a meeting tentatively scheduled for Feb. 11, Kao said.

One such organization, the MIT Debate Team, was recommended to make an appeal following the UAC meeting. A regular motion was made during the meeting to increase the team's funding, but the motion was defeated unanimously.