The Associated Students passed a resolution May 9 that changes the precedent for funding student commencements.
Under the new language, the A.S. Senate could increase or decrease the amount of funds given to student graduation committees by a three-fourths vote, said Safa Sajadi, A.S. vice president.
Sajadi said the new rule was adopted as a result of complaints from groups such as the Black Graduation Committee, which argued back in March that it did not receive enough funds.
Maria Rodriguez, co-chair of the Atzlan Graduation Policy Committee, said her organization did not receive enough funding in July 2005 when it was given $1,100 from the Senate. She said she requested an additional $2,000 to $3,000 this semester, which has not been provided yet.
“(The changes are) a good step in the right direction,” Sajadi said. “Any organization can (now) ask for more money.”
Rohit Sharma, upper division IV senator, proposed the changes at the May 9 meeting.
Funding for student commencements is derived from the unallocated reserves account, which previously had no budget language, allowing for changes after money is allocated. Sharma suggested that A.S. copy the language from the academic reserves account, which allows for funding to be changed by a two-thirds vote of the Senate. He suggested, however, that A.S. adopt a three-fourths requirement instead.
A.S. had gone through two changes to the budget language before the May 9 meeting, and neither had proven sufficient, Sharma said.
At the beginning of the semester, A.S. had a rule that limited funding for student commencements to $500 for setup and equipment, and $2.50 per student graduating, he said.
The per-student limit was then raised to $7.50, but that too proved problematic, as the new rule would have theoretically reduced a previous allocation to the Chicano/a Graduation Committee, Sharma said.
The Senate then decided May 9 that a three-fourths vote should be adopted to allow A.S. to allocate more than $7.50 per student in some situations, Sharma said.
Rodriguez said the changes could be too late for her group’s ceremony this year, as A.S. will be having its last meeting May 16. She is asking several groups, including La Familia, M.E.Ch.A. and the Graduate Student Association to sponsor her group’s ceremony by asking for funds from A.S. in each group’s own name.
“There is nothing in the policy that says we can’t do a graduation by co-sponsorship,” Rodriguez said.
She said the changes will be beneficial in the future, but for now Atzlan needs $2,200 to use the performing arts center on campus for its ceremony.
Rodriguez said Atzlan received $3,600 for last year’s ceremony and had 35 to 40 students participate.
This year’s ceremony will have 57 students participating, and the $1,100 just will not cut it, she said.
“The (new) rule is necessary just to protect the students’ right to that money,” Sharma said. “I really worry that a lot of these programs will be under funded.”