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Students Need Central Funding Board

Many student group leaders would agree that the activity funding system now in place is ineffective. Student activities must request funding from the Undergraduate Association and/or the Graduate Student Council, which in turn beg their funding from the Dean's Office. Many groups also solicit funding from individual departments and administrators, resulting in a disorganized mechanism for obtaining funds.

This snarl of funding sources results in an irrational allocation of funds. It remains unclear who should fund groups with both undergraduate and graduate members. Why should some groups receive preferential treatment from departments when they have been denied funds elsewhere? Why must so many groups fall through the cracks simply because they failed to develop a special relationship with any of the powers-that-be?

The idea for a revamp of the funding process gained momentum recently when Provost Joel Moses PhD '67 unexpectedly put down $40,000 for the as yet non-existent Central Allocations Board suggested by student services re-engineering.

Several ideas for the structure of the CAB are being considered. Creating a third, additional finance board would only complicate the job of the two existing student government finance boards, creating more confusion and bureaucracy. Making the CAB an information-only board - serving as a clearinghouse of funding sources - would be helpful but does not go far enough toward solving the problems of the current system. The best solution is to eliminate the two existing boards and establish the Central Allocations Board as a single, consolidated student activities finance board.

The board would manage donations from deans, departments, and other funding groups. It would then evaluate requests in a fashion similar to the current UAFinance Board allocation process - based on the general merits of the group and its activities - but not on membership demographics.

There is no question that if the board is given control over fund allocations, it should be composed entirely of students. Because the current UA and GSC systems would be displaced by such a board, they should have equal representation in the new arrangement, in addition to the Association of Student Activities. It would be inappropriate for administrators to take an active role in the board, as activity funding is entirely a student responsibility.

The current student activity funding situation is confusing, redundant, and inefficient. Over the years, student government has been unable to fix the process itself. A student-run Central Allocations Board could provide an opportunity to wipe the slate clean, trim the fat, and fund activities in a rational way.