Changes in store for ASI

The Associated Students Inc. Board of Directors hit the ground running this semester with talk of big change at their first meeting.

The board is reviewing its lawspeaker position, which has judiciary and parliamentary duties and also acts as elections commissioner, to ensure the three duties do not create a conflict of interest.

“It’s just good practice. The position was created only six months ago,” said Travis Northup, vice president of External Affairs. “We’re doing a review to make sure everything is OK.”

The lawspeaker position consolidated chief justice, parliamentarian and elections commissioner, giving all three positions to one person.

“The position is necessary,” said current Lawspeaker Frankie Griffen in an email. “Prior to the consolidation of these positions, we had a normal board member also serve as Chief Justice, and another as Parliamentarian, and we hired an outside person October-May as the Commissioner, resulting in a total lack of consistency and continuity with regard to rule enforcement.”

ASI President Cynthia Ashton could not be reached for comment.

Possible revision of the position, however, is only one of two major items on the board’s agenda to start the spring semester; allocation of funds to student organizations is the other.

The financial board met on Monday to discuss allocating funds to the first wave of campus organizations that presented proposals for events during the semester.

The financial board is allotted $3 million, with 5 percent of that going toward student organizations – leaving $125,000 for dispersal.

Organizations seeking funds are divided into three categories: first-time clubs looking for funding may receive up to $500; clubs who are reapplying for funding and have a good track record may receive up to $1,500; cultural and historical clubs may receive up to $5,000.

While some club members believe funding is effective, they do not see it as equal.

“Last year, we got what we needed efficiently enough, but I don’t think (distribution) is equal,” said Alyssa Wood, Eco Students member. “We definitely don’t get as much funding as bigger, more popular clubs.”

The financial approvals process is expected to continue until March.

The financial board is also looking to find ways to give all clubs an equal opportunity to receive funding by considering a ballot initiative to have students vote on which clubs will receive money.

So far, this process has been successful at Sacramento State and Chico State universities.

“We want to expand on ways to distribute funds based on membership and support,” said Vice President of Finance Emily Switzer. “Allowing students to vote gives a direct representation about membership and how easily a club can mobilize students.”

Although it is said that the process can give students more of a voice over their fees, it is also argued that this change could prove problematic for organizations.

“The debate is whether this will make it easier or more difficult,” Switzer said. “It could become another hoop organizations would have to jump through and it could be a financial burden to go through an elections process.”

While some believe this is effective from a student perspective, club members worry about being overshadowed by the election process.

“If (voting on funds) were to happen, all the small clubs would get less of a chance and wouldn’t get the chance to be as noticed,” Wood said.

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    PhilipFeb 25, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    I fought against the lawspeaker position HARD while i was on the board last year. I talked about how this position was a gigantic conflict of interest and that it simply had TOO much power for a position that had no obligation to represent the viewpoints of the students. On top of that it is a PAID position! Oh and to add insult to injury, Frankie Griffen had the nerve to ask for a pay raise equivalent to the ASI President! And now these problems are rising, the SAME problems I theorized would happen a YEAR ago.

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Changes in store for ASI