The Associated Students, Inc. Finance Committee addressed concerns regarding the group’s allocation of funds Monday, after growing criticism for a proposal that would reduce budgets for historic campus groups.
“After sitting in the meeting, I can see the board blaming (historical organizations) when this proposal was just dropped in our lap last minute,” said Hermanos Unidos Outreach and Alumni Chairman Christian Rivera Nolan. “I would like to see ASI suspend the cuts until next year so we can all have more time to work toward finding a more sustainable solution with more student input.”
Historic organizations, which include La Raza, the Black Student Union, Student Kouncil of Intertribal Nations and the General Union of Palestine Students, among others, currently receive $4,000 in funding for historic events and $1,500 for special events. The proposed distribution would decrease funds for historical organization events and special events by between $500 and $1,000, while new organizations will receive $500 less than their usual $1,000 budget, according to the finance committee’s online budget proposal.
“We inherited this proposal from last year’s board members, but what I want to make clear is that I want to move away from the word ‘cuts,’” Del Carmen said. “We are not necessarily cutting the funding; we are redistributing it in a way that will allow us to fund more events.”
Del Carmen said an increase in request for funding from student organizations prompted the proposal. The proposal is intended to shift the money being taken away from historic organization events and move them to fund newer student organizations.
“We need to demand what we want from them, because this is our campus too,” said La Raza Unida Coordinator Anabell Guerrero, 20. “The money is not just for us – how can you support our general body by decreasing our funding?”
La Raza Unida Student Organization gathered other historic groups Friday to discuss the demands they hope will sway the finance committee in their favor, such as increasing the budget and requesting student groups be included in budget decisions.
“ASI needs to work on funding a budget in agreement with the student organizations, rather than cutting funding with no input from the organizations,” said La Raza member Felipe Macias, 23. “None of us asked for this, and it feels as if we are being punished – this is the time we really need ASI to have our back and take responsibility.”
The student organizations are frustrated with the funding proposal, according to Pilipino American Collegiate Endeavor Executive Assistant Eden Alcomendas.
“It’ sad that our ethnic communities in the SF Bay Area are being gentrified and it’s disappointing to see it happening on our student campus,” Alcomendras said. “I would like to see ASI plan in advance ways to be more transparent, because it does take a long time for us to plan out our events for our organizations.”
The term ‘historical event’ has not been defined, according to ASI graduate representative Sharlana Turner. She said the finance committee would work on defining what a historical event means and most importantly work towards creating more transparency between ASI and the student organizations.
Emotions rose during the finance committee meeting Monday when La Raza coordinator Ashley Reyes, 22, brought to attention a questionable Facebook post made by Vice President of Internal Affairs Sarah Marie Pishny after last week’s decision to postpone the vote.
“Stupidity is a disease. Mob mentality is a virus. People who speak without proper information deserve zero respect from me,” Pishny said in the post.
Tensions in the room faded as Pishny said she did not mean to offend anyone and apologized to the groups.
“That comment was not supposed to come off as me calling you guys stupid or referring to you as a mob, but it’s an intimidating process having to go to work and having 50 plus students yelling at you, but I do apologize,” Pishny said. “I don’t want to offend anyone; I shouldn’t have posted my personal feelings like that. In the end we just want to satisfy everyone, but we can’t and that’s frustrating.
In preparation for an Oct. 14 vote on the proposed reallocation of funds, the ASI Finance Committee asked members of the historic groups to write down their concerns and questions on the poster papers taped to the wall, which will be brought to ASI board members.
“We want to work together with the organizations and we do not want to cut your funding, but rather reallocate that money in a way that allows us to help everyone,” said ASI President Phoebe Dye.