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Student Government Discusses Allotment Of Activities Funds

By Shang-Lin Chuang
News Editor

Student leaders have been meeting over the past month to look at the best and quickest way to distribute $40,000 that has been allocated by the Provost for small student activities.

Undergraduate Association leaders approached Provost Joel Moses PhD '67 during the summer to ask for more money for small student activities. Moses accepted the proposal and allocated $40,000 to the Central Allocations Board last month.

The CAB, which currently does not exist, was recommended as a part of the final report made by the co-curricular redesign re-engineering team early last month.

As a result, representatives from the UA, the Graduate Student Council, the Association of Student Activities, and CCR have been meeting over the past month to discuss the best method to distribute the money. That method of distribution may or may not include the CAB.

It is not clear who has the final say on scope of the CAB and the eventual distribution of the $40,000.

"Right now the board is not defined yet. It is just a mechanism to disseminate the money," said UA Vice President Dedric A. Carter '98.

"We are trying to see what is being missed by the current funding process," said GSC Treasurer Lawrence D. Barrett G. "We are trying to assess all the problems and issues and decide what is the best way to address them."

"We know that groups need the money, but we want to create something reasonable that isn't a one-time thing," Carter said. "The goal is still to allocate the money this term, although I am not sure it is feasible. But the money will be handed out as soon as we reach a consensus and some kind of decision."

Students disagree about CAB

The board can serve functions that range from keeping track of where the money is all the way to replacing the two financing boards under the UA and GSC that distribute money to student groups, said ASA President Douglas K. Wyatt G.

"I think the CAB would be a very good thing," Wyatt said. "I have always had the idea of having an overall funding board. The current system is broken inherently and it hurts the students to force them into discrete categories of graduate and undergraduate."

Others disagree with the idea of a new board. "My general feeling is that the solution should be to try to work and improve the UA and GSC finance boards," Barrett said. "At this point, I don't believe there should be a third board. Another board would just contribute to more bureaucracy and confusion."

Centralization of information, which includes letting all student activities know where money is available and where money has gone, is not the same thing as the centralization of money, Carter said. "I think the CAB should be a centralization of information, not money," he said.

"One of the big things that has been brought to my attention is the importance of a funding process for the UA and GSC," said Anthony J. Ives G, team captain for CCR. "It is a big part of what they do, and if a third board takes that away from them, then it is not a good thing."

"The UA has the feeling that the CAB has the potential of taking away money - and thus power - away from it," Wyatt said. "But the CAB can be populated by UAmembers. The board has the potential to do good things."

The fact that funding is handled by two organizations with two different processes makes the current process unfair, Wyatt said. "We should not be concerned about whether the group is mostly made of undergraduate or graduate students, as it currently is, but [instead] look at the student population as a whole."

Combined board polarized

Even if the two existing funding boards are combined into one, the same problems will persist, Barrett said.

"Each group has its own specific needs that are best served and understood by their representatives," Barrett said. "It doesn't make sense to have two boards in one."

Carter agreed. "If the boards are combined, then it will be polarized anyway," he said. "The graduate student members will be taking care of the graduate student activities, and the undergraduate student members will be taking care of the undergraduate student activities."

Before CCR made its final recommendations, they "informed the community about the plan, but it is really hard to discuss when it is just on paper," Ives said. "They did raise some concerns, but we figured that we would work out the specifics later. This controversy is not unexpected."

"I have always known about the problem of creating a third board," Carter said. "We were assured that it was not defined, and could be figured out later. CCR kept themselves very open for interpretation on the issue."

The ideas are now on the table, and nothing has been officially decided, Ives said. "I am all for moving ahead to solve student funding problems, but I honestly don't know what the best solution is right now."

It is currently unclear who will make the final decision on the scope of the CAB and the distribution of the $40,000.

"Nobody really knows who will make the decision," Wyatt said. "My feeling is that although a consensus will not be reached, some sort of compromise will be reached."

Ives said that he believes some consensus will be reached. "We are moving ahead and coming to a clear understanding of the problems and concerns," Ives said. "I like to think we are all open minded enough to work together and solve the problems."

"A consensus has to be reached," Carter said. "It has been and will be difficult, but necessity will help bring it to a close."