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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “Low funds, club checks vex ASUA”

    With club funds running low, the Associated Students of the University of Arizona faces internal conflicts regarding funding allocation by the Appropriations Board.

    About a week ago, ASUA members expected club funding to run out before the end of the semester, since the Appropriations Board had less than $14,000 left to allocate, said ASUA treasurer Carrie Pixler.

    The total club funding from ASUA designated at the start of the year was about $144,000, up from about $80,000 last year, Pixler said.

    “”It hopefully will set a precedent for future years,”” Pixler said.

    However, despite this large increase in club funds, the Appropriations Board gave out more than $130,000 by the end of February, Pixler said.

    “”We (ASUA) could have been wiser in the decisions that were made,”” said Charles Wollin, an ASUA club advocate.

    However, some clubs that received funding did not come to pick up their checks and, with the recent shortage of club funding, ASUA decided to take the money back, Pixler said.

    “”I don’t really get why you would go through the process and not come pick it up,”” said Adam Frankel, a director on the Appropriations Board.

    If checks for these clubs, such as American Medical Association and Arnold Air Society, are not picked up by tomorrow, the allocated funds will be put back in the

    Appropriations Board pot for re-allocation, Pixler said.

    “”Its nice that we can get more money, but we shouldn’t have needed to,”” Wollin said.

    The budgets of the ASUA executive vice president and the ASUA Senate will also add money to club funding to sustain it for the rest of the year.

    Some club advocates said spending $130,000 indicates ASUA is assisting more clubs financially.

    “”When you think about it, even $150,000 for over 500 clubs is not that much money,”” said Meaghan Foy, an ASUA club advocate.

    However, as of the ASUA Appropriations Board meeting on Feb. 27, only 99 clubs had received funding, totaling more than $130,000 for the year.

    Controversy in funding

    While some argue $130,000 was spent according to regulations of the ASUA bylaws, others said the Appropriations Board allocated funding this year solely based on the opinions of board members.

    “”It’s obviously a judgment call on what benefits the university,”” said Shawn Ingram, an ASUA senator and chair of the Appropriations Board.

    Ingram said it is a “”travesty”” the board has been attacked for making decisions based on beliefs because that is part of its job.

    “”Of course our beliefs come into things, of course they’re political, everyone’s political,”” Ingram said.

    Clubs acquire funds from ASUA through club advocates assigned by ASUA who present the need for money to the Appropriations Board, Pixler said.

    To allocate funds, the board has a set of guidelines, the “”Appropriations Board Precedents,”” in addition to a mandatory set of rules in the ASUA bylaws, Pixler said.

    But confusion within ASUA about Appropriations Board Precedents has been a common theme this year.

    “”There is no precedent for on-campus events because we don’t want to limit ourselves on how much money we can give for an event enjoyed by so many students,”” said ASUA President Erin Hertzog.

    However, the Appropriations Board Precedents for 2006-2007 on-campus events states the board will not appropriate more than $5,000 toward an event.

    This precedent was ignored for Homecoming, when the board appropriated $11,660 to Bobcats Senior Honorary for the event, 8 percent of the total club-funding budget.

    Two bylaw changes regarding philanthropic events and vetoes have also sparked debate within ASUA.

    On Jan. 30, the Appropriations Board approved funding for a philanthropic event, Relay for Life – for the first time – although philanthropic-event funding was prohibited in the bylaws at the time.

    However, then-Executive Vice President David Reece suggested the board approve funding because the senate was in the process of amending its bylaws to allow on-campus philanthropic events be funded.

    “”The board decided to fund the full request with the understanding that at the senate meeting the bylaws change would happen before the consent agenda was passed,”” according to the ASUA Appropriations Board consent agenda.

    But some members of the board were concerned that changing this bylaw after denying funding to so many other clubs first semester was unfair.

    Another change in the bylaws, approved by the senate last week, will let the senate make adjustments in the funds allocated by the Appropriations Board, a change some board members disagree with.

    “”The reason I don’t think the senate should be able to alter the consent agenda with a simple majority is because it completely nullifies the purpose of the Appropriations Board,”” Ingram said.

    However, Hertzog said the change was necessary.

    “”There were some items that were unfairly funded,”” Hertzog said, referring to V-Day: Vagina Warriors and the Medical Students for Choice. Both organizations were initially denied funding, but the decisions were later overturned.

    “”I was upset,”” Frankel said of the lack of funding for “”The Vagina Monologues.”” “”It was a very small amount of money, but some board members thought it (“”The Vagina Monologues””) was too racy and they did not want to fund it.””

    Medical Students for Choice was also denied funds to attend a pro-choice convention.

    “”They complained and said that there was political bias, and I agree,”” Frankel said.

    The reasons the Appropriations Board denies funds have also contradicted throughout the year.

    On Sept. 26, the Appropriations Board denied funding for a law fair put on by Phi Alpha Delta because the pre-law fraternity received more than $500 from another university department.

    But on Oct. 24, the fraternity’s funding was approved.

    “”Some clubs misrepresent how they get funding,”” Frankel said. “”A lot of it is on the honor system.””

    Pride Law was denied funds due to lack of receipts, but the Appropriations Board gave money to Elevation Ski and Snowboarding Club, noting it did not have receipts, according to ASUA’s Appropriations Board consent agenda.

    “”The board proposes a friendly amendment to change the amount”” was repeated at several different meetings throughout the year as a reason to lower funds given.

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