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Appeals Land Groups More UA Funding

By Zareena Hussain and Rita Lin
Staff Reporters

The Undergraduate Association Finance Board met Saturday to hear fourteen student groups' appeals of Finboard's spring decisions for fall-term activity funding.

Amounts requested in appeals ranged from $150 to $6,000. Finboard allocated a total of $3,640 at the appeals meeting.

Most of the $90,000 allocated to the UA to distribute among student groups for the fall term is divvied up during standard budget meetings in the spring, said Finboard Chair Jennifer Yang '97. Dissatisfied groups may then appeal in the fall.

Student groups who make appeals send representatives to present their budget appeals in person, allowing Finboard to clear up any questions over specific budget items and get a better idea what groups are about, Yang said.

The appeals are also a way for Finboard to find out what groups want to do with the money they are requesting, she said.

Groups may choose to appeal to Finboard for a variety of reasons. Some groups are referred to the appeal process by Finboard itself, Yang said.

For instance, the International Students Association received no funds in the spring because of misunderstandings over the group's budget. Since student groups do not usually attend the spring compilation meetings, ISA was referred to the appeals meeting to explain their budget in person.

Other groups appealed because they missed the deadline for spring budget submission, new groups appealed to receive funds, and some groups appealed specific budget stipulations set down by Finboard, Yang said.

Hillel receives funding for food

Finboard usually does not allocate funds for food at internal group meetings, except for cultural foods. MIT Hillel was denied funds for food items but appealed the decision successfully after Finboard realized the cultural significance of the food Hillel wanted money for, Yang said.

Anything in a student group's budget that serves a unique function to the MITcommunity or promotes cultural awareness on campus is usually looked upon favorably by Finboard, Yang said.

Thirteen of the 14 appealing groups received at least some additional funds.

The MIT Gospel Choir received no additional funding from the appeals process. This is because Finboard wanted be consistent in the funding of similar groups on campus, Yang said. The funding of the Gospel Choir was in line with the funding of other religious and musical groups on campus.

Only one new student group appealed for fall funding. The Hybrid Electrical Vehicle Team was allocated $300, the total amount they asked for. Finboard usually tries to help out new groups, Yang said.

Many factors in funding decision

Each request for funding is scrutinized closely. Decisions are made in part based on past budgets and precedent.

Finboard also takes into account a student group's "size, impact on the MIT community, and uniqueness" when making funding decisions, Yang said.

"As to whether the groups are adequately funded, I don't think anyone could argue that they are," said Association for Student ActivitiesPresident Douglas K. Wyatt G. "But until MITdecides that extracurricular student life is a priority, there's not a whole lot that can be done, unfortunately,"

Finboard appeals are the last stage in the funding process for fall activities. Groups that still have problems may talk with Finboard officers or appeal to the UA Council, "but after appeals that's pretty much it," Yang said.

The results from the Finboard appeals meeting will be presented to the UA at the next council meeting for final approval on Monday, Yang said.