Concerns of graduation ceremonies and budget mistakes dominated the Associated Students Senate meeting May 2 in the University Student Union’s Grand Salon.
The open forum portion of the meeting was host to angry responses to the money given to fund the Aztlan Graduation Ceremony at the April 25 Senate meeting, as well as requests for extra money to be given to a new student-produced literary and art magazine.
“I’m really upset that the finance committee didn’t make a recommendation to the senate” for more money to be allocated to the AGC, said Maria Rodriguez, a former A.S. senator and senior psychology major who plans to participate in the ceremony.
At the April 25 meeting, the senate allocated $1,100 to the AGC, which Rodriguez said was too low, given the amounts they have previously received. In 2005, the ceremony was allocated more than $3,000.
“It is kind of disappointing, for whatever reason” A.S. did not give the committee an equal or increased amount this year, said AGC participant Carlos Moran, senior Chicano/a Studies and child and adolescent development major, adding that “the finance committee has been lagging in getting us information” as to why their amount was dramatically decreased this year.
“Because of the policy that was passed, the finance committee couldn’t recommend” a higher amount, said Bryanne Knight, A.S. director of finance. Knight was referring to a policy that was passed at the April 4 Senate meeting that allowed A.S. to allocate only $7.50 per graduation ceremony participant, a change that resulted with less funding this year than in the past.
Knight said the AGC should just be receiving “900 and change” based on the current policy, but that instead the committee was given $200 more.
“Technically, what policy (dictates is to) take money away from them, and the finance committee didn’t want to do that,” she explained later in the Senate meeting.
The Senate exceeded the finance committee’s recommendation regarding funds allocated to the student creators of a new literary and art magazine at CSUN.
The Order of the Bandersnatch, which produces the Bandersnatch, a new magazine, originally asked the finance committee for $400 to $600 to help cover costs for their first issue this summer, which will be sold in the bookstore chains Barnes ‘ Noble and Borders, in addition to other locations.
One organizer of the magazine, third-year honors English major Joshua Hammer, spoke on the publication’s behalf during open forum, hoping to increase the $600 recommendation to $750.
“We approached A.S. with a very nominal fee request,” Hammer said. “We’ve been working our rear ends off for financing. We’re running out of time, and the end of the semester is our deadline.”
Hammer went on to explain the value the magazine has for CSUN students, despite the fact that the magazine must be purchased, a limitation that the finance committee usually frowns upon.
“We’re trying to create a themed literary work that’s not only writing; it’s also art,” he said, adding that student bylines and work will be “actually getting out into the real market, which is a rare opportunity.”
When the Senate voted on the fund request for the Bandersnatch, one senator questioned the decision to give money to the magazine, due to past precedent to place limitations on the amount of funds given to organizations that charge students for the work or services they produce.
“This was something the finance committee felt was a valuable asset (to CSUN),” Knight said. “It’s in our budget language that when you charge, it limits the access to CSUN students. ? It doesn’t say that we cannot fund this.”
The senate unanimously passed an allocation of $750 to the Bandersnatch, though three senators abstained from to vote.
A special meeting was called for 3 p.m., an hour into the regular senate meeting, to address concerns relating to the A.S. 2006-2007 annual budget. David Crandall, general manager, accepted fault for three of the amendments to the budget; the mistakes were made in spreadsheets and the grouping of some funds.
The first amendment to the annual budget changed a mistake that had been made regarding the amount of money given to clubs and organizations on campus. Some clubs, Crandall explained, miss deadlines to declare how much money they will need annually, and their funds are taken care of after the budget has been drafted with money from the Student Organization Assigned Contingency, which is created after clubs that have been allocated money already in the normal budget have all been subtracted. The SOAC is the remainder of the money given to clubs in the budget. When determining the money allowed for the SOAC, Crandall said, he forgot to subtract the funds given to five organizations; for this reason, the budget was changed.
The second amendment fixed a problem regarding the $10,000 given to Interpretive Services, which provides interpreters for deaf or hard of hearing students. The money is usually split between two parts of the budget – government and A.S. programs and services – as it was this year, but an extra $5,000 was accidentally re-allocated to Interpretive Services, a mistake that was fixed with this amendment to the budget.
The third amendment involved $80,000 in interest income that was placed in the overview portion of the annual budget. The amount will go toward benefits for retirees, and thus should have been placed in the administrative budget.
Lauren Robeson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.