In the wake of the Finance Board’s marathon decisions, a lot of clubs have been wondering why they got so little money compared to previous semesters. It’s not the budget situation — the Union Activities Fee is fixed and thus divorced from the budget cuts. So why is everyone getting less than usual? Here’s the situation to the best of my understanding (all info courtesy of the Student Union Constitution. If I’m wrong at any point, feel free to call me out in the comments).
The Union Activities Fee is divided into three separate funds:
- The Union Government Fund goes to the government, providing the E-Board discretionary, the Senate discretionary, and several other small projects. From here, we get the newspapers, the bikes, the Midnight Buffet, and a bunch of other government projects.
- The Justice Printing Expenses Fund goes to the Justice. To maintain separation between the press and the government, the Justice doesn’t have to go through the F-Board for money.
- The Finance Board Allocations Fund is by far the largest fund, and it’s the one we’re interested in here. This is the money that goes to Chartered Union Organizations, which are all chartered clubs.
In the past, the Union Activities Fee has been fixed at 1% of the total tuition. This meant that inflation wouldn’t affect the Fee, because it would increase along with tuition. However, that changed as of this year. The substantial roll-over money that the F-Board had accrued convinced the administration that the Union was getting too much money, and part of the requirements they set for allowing us to keep the roll-over and build the new weight room was that a cap was to be placed on the UAF. Thus, when tuition increased over last summer, the UAF stayed where it was last year.
Unfortunately, the economy didn’t. As the cost of living has gone up, exacerbated by the recession, the money that the F-Board has to allocate isn’t going as far as it used to. It’s my understanding that the F-Board allocated money as they usually would during the fall semester, which is why no great changes were felt. However, that has left them with a smaller pot than ever before for the spring. Hence, across the board, activities that deserve to be funded have not gotten the money they deserve.
Solving the problem is as simple as convincing the administration to remove the cap on the UAF. The budget crisis may complicate that, but the increase would be a relative drop in the bucket to the shortfall we’re facing. More importantly, we need to assure them that the roll-over won’t happen again. Responsibility for the roll-over is somewhat complex and is shared between past F-Boards and clubs that didn’t spend all their allocations. However, last year’s treasurer Choon Woo Ha instituted several reforms to ensure that the problem wouldn’t repeat itself; I’m very hazy as to what exactly they are, but thetreasurer.org probably has more information if you’re interested.
In short, the problem isn’t with the current F-Board or the current Treasurer, Max Wallach (who I know from personal experience to be very thorough and good at his job). Let’s hope that the UAF cap is removed, and clubs will once again be able to get the funding they deserve.