The Associated Students Senate doubled the amount of money to be given toward a black graduation ceremony at its April 4 meeting.
The Black Graduation Committee hosts a graduation ceremony for black students each year and members were told at the March 28 A.S. meeting that they would be given $1,000, less than what they received last year.
In 2005, according to Adam Haverstock, assistant to Director of Finance Bryanne Knight, the BGC received $4,000 in supplemental funding from A.S., as well as $500 in transfer funds from the Black Student Union. Leroy Geter, coordinator of Transfer Student Initiatives, works with the committee and estimated that over the past few years the cost for the ceremony has been between $10,000 and $11,000.
After heated discussion among the senators and pleas for an increase from members of the BGC, the amount was raised to $2,000, plus the amount needed for interpretive services during the ceremony (which would be funded through a separate account). The motion was made by Health and Human Development II Senator James Stephens.
The Senate heard from 10 students from the BGC during the open forum portion of the meeting. Several members addressed the misconception that the graduation ceremony should be grouped with end-of-the-year banquets, a problem that Haverstock addressed later in the meeting. They said that while their committee was seeking outside funds, they were perplexed as to why they did not get more money for their ceremony during the March 28 meeting.
Jasmin Young, senior Pan-African studies major, was one of the students who addressed the senators about the graduation funding.
“We as students, as student leaders, have to make sure that we are standing up for each other,” Young said. “$2.50 (per person) is a joke ? We pay $70 (in A.S. fees).”
The amount of $2.50 per person attending the graduation ceremony became a much-discussed topic later in the meeting, as Haverstock had to explain where this amount had come from when determining how much money would be given to the BGC.
Haverstock said that since graduation ceremonies are often grouped with year-end banquets, the idea of how much ceremonies should receive is muddled. By the end of the meeting, many senators still seemed unclear on how the $2.50 per person figure had been arrived at. The change in the budget language that will increase that figure to $7.50 per person was passed later in the meeting.
Arts, Media, and Communication Senator I Jenna Humphrey addressed the complaints about the discrepancy.
“We, financially, cannot fund that many grad ceremonies. ? I am so tired of hearing this ‘What does my $70 go to?’ It goes to” many different events and causes, she said. “The question of ‘where is it going’ over and over and over again is just ? ridiculous.”
Some A.S. members also spoke up for the need of the Black Graduation Committee.
“We should definitely try to help,” Vice President Safa Sajadi said. “It is really difficult for a lot of students (to graduate), and we should celebrate that.”
During the meeting, a resolution authored by the University Affairs Committee, headed by Stephens and Humphrey, that would allow students to be on search committees and vote on potential CSUN deans and associate deans was passed by the Senate.