The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 37.0°F | A Few Clouds

UA, GSC To Keep Funding Powers

By Stacey E. Blau
Editor in Chief

The future of the proposed Central Allocations Board became clearer on Friday after a meeting in which the groups involved decided that the board would not assume the funding powers of the Undergraduate Association and the Graduate Student Council.

"We're not touching those processes," Katherine G. O'Dair, assistant dean for student activities. "Both the UA and GSC made very compelling arguments against it. We can't do it without the student governments."

The groups also moved forward with developing plans to distribute the $40,000 that Provost Joel Moses PhD '67 allocated to the CAB. The $40,000, originally set aside for the UA to fund small activities and later given to the CAB by Moses, will be distributed through the funding mechanisms of the UA and GSC, but the money will be distributed under new criteria developed by both groups, O'Dair said.

The CAB, which does not yet exist, is a proposal by the co-curricular redesign re-engineering team. The function of the board has not yet been determined, although the board may play some sort of informational or funding role with regard to money for student activities.

The groups meeting to determine the role of the CAB and the distribution of the $40,000 include members of the UA, GSC, the Association of Student Activities, and the co-curricular implementation re-engineering team.

UA, GSC oppose central funding

Both the UA and the GSC opposed the formation of the CAB.

"If you remove student activities funding, you essentially render student government useless," said UA Vice President Dedric A.Carter '98.

The current funding processes need to be improved, but the solution is not to take funding away from student government, Carter said. "It is just not right to take away the funding powers that are inherently student government's."

"We support our constituents, who are the graduate students," said GSC Treasurer Lawrence D. Barrett G. "We feel we are the best representatives to distribute that money. We're the ones that know the needs of our student groups."

The ASA - which does not have its own separate funding board, although some of its members sit on the UA Finance Board - supports a central funding process, said ASA President Douglas K. Wyatt G.

The ASA - which does not have its own separate funding board like the UA and GSC, although some of its members sit on the UA Finance Board - supports a central funding process, said ASA President Douglas K. Wyatt G.

There is a need for a funding board that represents both undergraduate and graduate student activities, Wyatt said.

The funding philosophies of the UA and GSC are different and unnecessarily divide undergraduate and graduate activities, Wyatt said. There should not be such a division. "For the same reason, there is one ASA, not two," he said.

There is a concern that without the power of its finance board that the UA will be left with little to do, but "I don't think that's a reason to let it continue funding," Wyatt said. "That's a reason to get the UA to do more things."

Future of CAB on hold

Determining the eventual role of the CAB is on hold until the $40,000 is distributed, Wyatt said.

The UA and GSC will work jointly to develop a set of criteria for the allocating the $40,000 that will attempt to avoid overlap and try to cover all groups, O'Dair said. The money will then be divided between the UA and GSC, who will distribute the money themselves.

The allocation process should take place around the end of February, although the time-scale and the unified application process for funds is still being worked out, Wyatt said.

This joint process is a one-time effort, much in the same way that the provost's $40,000 allotment is likely a one-time deal, O'Dair said. The joint criteria for the distribution is not any sort of pilot plan for a future process as enforced by the CAB, she said.

One possibility for the CAB would be for it to serve as an information clearinghouse for groups looking for funding or for schools and departments looking to distribute their own funds to activities.

"Maybe it should be just a big information source," perhaps a World Wide Web page that can provide information on groups' needs and departments' resources, Barrett said.

Many new groups do not have the connections needed to know how to most effectively go after funding from school and departmental discretionary funds, and a CAB that serves as an information source could be a benefit to such groups, Carter said. "I really argue that the CAB should be a centralization of information."

Schools and departments, however, may still want to keep some control over their funds, since they are funds that schools and departments normally reserve to distribute themselves, Wyatt said.

A board that includes students, faculty, and staff might serve the schools and departments as a way to distribute funds to activities they want to give money to and to activities who need funds the most, he said.

UA, GSC may reform themselves

The UA and GSC, however, may still be looking into independently reforming their funding processes for the distribution of the $40,000 and in general.

"We do know that [the processes] need to be reformed," Carter said. Both groups need to work toward "a uniformity of ideology on what we're going to be funding."

Currently, the GSC funds only events and not activities' other expenses, Barrett said. But the GSC may consider funding not just specific events but student groups in general, he said.

"The question has been more along the lines of, What is best for student government?' - not about what's best for the students and student activities," Wyatt said. The discussion about funding should really be focusing on what is best for activities, not for the UA or GSC, he said.

Since the provost's $40,000 gift is probably not going to be repeated and regular levels of activity funding come from the Dean's Office, the UA and GSC will have to seek increased funds from the Dean's Office to achieve the agreed goal of increasing student activities funding, Wyatt said.

"We've been complaining about the lack of student activity funding for years now," Wyatt said. "I don't think there will be the $40,000 every year."

"Obviously I'd like to see the funding pool increased," Carter said. "Student activities are poorly funded; we need more money."

To ensure that the groups are equitably funded, "we should probably think of raising funding levels," Barrett said.