Student orgs replace finance committee in control of A.S. funds

In an effort to give student organizations more say in the disbursement of A.S. funds, the Student Organizations Funding Advisory Board will no longer be under the direct control of the A.S. Finance Committee. Instead, it will consist of voting members representing the student organizations themselves.

The board will now be made up of representatives from student organizations grouped into nine categories: Academic/Educational, Political, Greek/Interfraternity Council/Panhellenic, Cultural/Student Affirmative Action Committee, Religious, Pre-professional/Health professions, Social, Recreation and Service.

Funding for student organizations was formerly determined solely by the A.S. Finance Committee, which is comprised of A.S. vice president of finance and senators appointed to that committee.

Under the new SOFAB system, two A.S. Council senators, one from the Finance Committee and one from the Internal Committee, will act as nonvoting co-chairs.

The item, written and submitted by A.S. President Jeff Dodge, A.S. Vice President of Finance Sam Shooshtary, Thurgood Marshall College Sophomore Senator Sierra Catcott and Earl Warren College Sophomore Senator Kevin Hsu, was passed at the A.S. Council meeting Jan. 23.

SOFAB will begin its new organizational structure next spring.

“”I’ve sat on SOFAB twice, and it’s been an ongoing concern about how SOFAB is done currently,”” Hsu said. “”More than anything, a lot of members of student organizations had issues with the way it’s done now.””

In response to concerns raised by SOFAB members and student organizations, Shooshtary’s office researched the systems other colleges use to allocate finances to student organizations. Several colleges, they found, use a system similar to the one recently devised by the A.S. Council, and found they worked well for them, according to Shooshtary.

“”We’re hoping that it will give more responsibility to the student organizations,”” Shooshtary said. “”It will be a lot easier for the senators [on the Finance Committee], and [the funding] still goes through the Finance Committee and the A.S. Council, so we have the checks and balances.””

Hsu agrees with Shooshtary.

“”I think the system we’ve devised is good in terms of checks and balances, and the representatives for the student organizations will find it in their best interest to distribute funds fairly,”” Hsu said.

The desire to change SOFAB was not shared by all members of the A.S. Council.

Thurgood Marshall College Junior Senator William Tunick, who abstained from voting on the item, said that the SOFAB reform is being used as a vehicle for increased interaction between the two groups, and that it might not be the best decision.

“”There’s obviously a large gap communicationwise between A.S. and the student organizations, but I think that there might be more productive ways of fixing that,”” Tunick said.

The new rules governing SOFAB do not necessarily give power to the student organizations, unlike how the new system appears on the surface, Tunick said.

“”I felt that this was a way for A.S. to give some of the grunt work to the student organizations,”” Tunick said. “”In the end, it’s still up to A.S. to make the final decision as to the allocations.””

However, Tunick does not believe that the current SOFAB system is necessarily better than the new one.

The SOFAB reform will allow for greater communication between the student organizations and the council, according to Hsu.

“”We hope that by reforming the SOFAB structure, it will allow a better and more fair allocation of money and greater interaction between student organizations and A.S.,”” Hsu said.

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