Uberfun With Finboard
For one brief, heart-stopping moment, as I sat in on last week's semiannual Association of Student Activities meeting, Ithought somebody was going to re-initiate the debate about the merits of a single-entity Undergraduate Association and Graduate Student Council funding board, united forever in peace and harmony, to the universal betterment of all humanity, again.
Luckily, PresidentVan L. Chu '99, fearless leader, was on hand to steer back any digressions which strayed too far from the green pasture of agenda topics.
Don't get me wrong: Ithink the idea of an unified UAand GSCfunding board would be great. But I'm not as enamored of the time-consuming and redundant arguments which inevitably arise whenever this subject accidentally comes up - at least, from what I've managed to infer from my few, sheltered experiences with the topic.
It doesn't even appear as if the masses are especially against the idea, either. A preliminary straw poll at the ASA meeting last spring, whenIfirst encountered the idea, demonstrated that, on the whole, student group leaders thought that a unified funding board would be a Good Thing.
Why, then, does this organization not yet exist? I'm pretty certain it's not the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it"principle at work. The current system favors the UA, a student group who gets to determine which other student groups get money. Shouldn't the ASA, made up of these student groups, be the one given the tens of thousands of dollars of student activities money to dole out amongst its members (including the UA) as it sees fit? Matthew L. McGann '00 should not be "ASAliaison to the UAFinboard"; the position should be, if anything, "UAliaison to the Überboard" and only for smoothing things over during the initial transition period.
I've just christened the cumulative Finboard-GSC funding unit "Überboard," but I certainly wouldn't be averse to calling it "Ultra GSC funding Plus! (now with undergraduates)" - "Ugfup" - bulky as that may be. But the single word "Überboard" - even if I'm not quite sure how to pronounce it - looks sleek (and I get to put little dots over the u', which is always exciting).
And Überboard should exist.
Iwrite this column under the anonymity of my name, which, in the context of "author of something in The Tech," people seem not to associate with me. I hope to find no reprisal from the UA, whose powerI an surreptitiously undermining, and whose current Finboard determines how much money my student group gets. Or maybe I'll get lucky, and the UA will refuse to talk to me ever again, preventing me from having to write future State of the UA articles assigned by my editors.
That's one of my demands, by the way; Überboard has to be separate from both class-based student governments (the UA and GSC), and associated with the ASA, the diligent force which worked and planned hard to create it. Hint, hint.
Frankly, Überboard doesn't yet exist, because creating it would take Timeand Energy - all of the things that MIT students tend to be lacking. Nonetheless, it should take no longer than the period of onemonth of merely semi-dedicated people meeting relatively frequently to plan and propose.I refer to daily 9 a.m. meetings during IAP, of course. What else is IAP for but to provide students with Timeand Energy to semi-dedicate to accomplishing a real goal? The 9 a.m. clause would hopefully ensure that the Überplanners were in it for the ideals, not the power.
I imagine that implementation of Überboard would begin - may the gods help us - with a committee. An ASAvote in the fall would elect the members of the Übercommittee, who would all be flogged each time one of them missed a meeting during IAP.
You might scoff at the idea of a group of five, or so, actually getting something done, particularly in such a short time period as one month. Especially if the group is related to student government. I have no qualms about leaving the committee members in a small, cold room with a single dull knife if nothing has been accomplished by the last week of the period. There will be no "time extensions."
When the committee finishes the logistical rules and details, and presents Überboard to the ASA for approval through a resolution, they might sing a theme song. An acquaintance at The Tech has offered the following lyrics:
Who controls the money now?
Who keeps the greedy UA down?
We do! We do!
Who keeps GSC off the cash?
Who gives each group their fair stash?
We do! We do!
Who keeps groups from going sour?
Who gives Van some well-earned power?
We do! We do!
Who helps rebuild MIT?
Who keeps money from "me, me, me"?
We do! We do!
Of course, even with the best theme song in the world, an ASA Überboard would still have to get past the bouncers at the UA.
But the UA can't have the power to override the shouting voices of several thousand student group members, right?
And student activities are so strong this year