In an effort to alleviate problems between Associated Students and cultural clubs on campus in regard to their event’s budget, a new constitution is being proposed for an Inter-Cultural Council.
Following last semester’s funding issues concerning cultural groups and educational events on campus, A.S. is now working to implement a budget reform for club events. The specifics of the proposal are dictated in a new constitution that was drafted by the head of Hillel, the Jewish students organization, and A.S. senator Igor Kagan.
“Nothing had really been done in prior years,” said Kagan, regarding the funding issues with the clubs.
While the constitution is still in its first stages, it is clear that a new approach to budgeting club-hosted events and programming is in the works. Under the constitution, a Cultural Programming Fund will be available to cover the costs of events.
As the A.S. fee will increase by $1 each year starting in the fall of 2007, which is dictated by a 2002 referendum, 25 percent of every clubs’ share of that money will become the CPF. The CPF does not include the money A.S. initially allocates toward club funding.
The constitution states that as the A.S. fee increases every year, the CPF will grow each year, yielding a greater amount of money available to clubs that can be used for programming and events. There are currently about 30,000 students who pay the A.S. fee. The figures in the constitution are based on the number of students paying the fee remaining at 30,000.
To decide the use of the CPF, the constitution states that the Culture Program Council (CPC) will be formed. This group, consisting of participating clubs, will convene to deliberate about the allocation of the money in the CPF.
“The [CPC] will make organizations on campus sit together and talk,” said Zabie Mansoory, head of the Muslim Student Association and a member of the A.S. Finance Committee.
“Clubs can plan with each other, it will build a sense of community among the club members,” Mansoory said.
In the current budget language, when clubs request extra money to fund events, the club members have to ask A.S. directly, a method that has proven to produce undesirable outcomes for clubs in the past. Last semester, the African Student Organization (ASO), CSUN chapter of the NAACP, American Indian Student Association, Central American United Student Association (CAUSA) and MEChA were among the clubs not provided with adequate funding for their event schedules’.
Jillian Banks, member of the ASO, NAACP and Black Student Union (BSU) expressed her disinclination with the past actions of the AS, saying, “It has always been a battle when the ASO, BSU, NAACP or MEChA has to go to the A.S. for funds. We have to go to each other for support because without the strength of numbers ? we are disregarded.”
Kagan spent the past holiday break constructing the first draft of the constitution that he feels will ultimately do the job of eliminating the discrepancy between club members and A.S. about event budgeting.
“The bottom line is everyone wants more money,” Kagan said. “Under this constitution, they will get more money. Funding for clubs will go up by a significant margin every year.”
Kagan presented the first draft of the new constitution in a mass e-mail he sent to the heads of every club, asking them to look at the document and reply with what they feel needs to be revised. The first two organizations to respond were CAUSA and the Japanese Student Association (JSA). Kagan contacted the head of both clubs on the phone to discuss problems they had with the constitution.
Josue Guajan, president of CAUSA, shared his concerns regarding the draft of the constitution, saying, “It needs improvement in some areas, specifically how to determine what clubs and organizations are being presented as ‘cultural.’ Another thing is how is the money going to be distributed, which I was a little bit unclear of.”
Although Guajan was optimistic about the clubs’ input becoming a major factor in the revision process of the constitution, he is his reserving judgment on its enactment. “I really feel that before coming to a conclusion (the organizations) need to come together and discuss if this is really what we want,” said Guajan. “It’s not easy to decide. Either its good or not at this moment.”
After every club gets their input concerning the constitution, the desired result is that it will be a document dictating stipulations everyone has agreed to accept.
“When there is something involving big changes, people will always question it, but it is normal. It is a good thing,” said Kagan.
Once a final constitution is drafted, it will go to the A.S. Senate to be voted on.