Board Suspends Orgs' Event Funding

The Student Organization Funding Advisory Board, which allocates activity-fee money to student groups, rejected funding for the cultural shows of three campuswide student organizations last week.

The organizations — Sangam, the South Asian awareness organization, Kaibigang Pilipino and the Vietnamese Student Association — will appeal to the A.S. financial committee on March 8.

SOFAB Senator Conrad Ohashi said that the board did not give the organizations funding for their offcampus events because of an A.S. financial bylaw barring funding of events based on location.

Instead of recommending suspension of the bylaw, the board decided to pass on the decision to the A.S. Council. The board set aside money for an appeals process in case the council overturns the SOFAB decision, Ohashi said.

According to the A.S. financial bylaw, funding is forbidden for “any event happening off campus that does not pertain to the purpose of the organization, unless by underwrite.”

The bylaw’s ambiguity and the magnitude of funding forced SOFAB members to delegate responsibility of organization funding to a higher power.

“The board felt they should leave the decision to A.S. Council, especially considering that the combined funding request total for KP, VSA and Sangam was $59,478 … a quarter of all the funds SOFAB has to work with for the year,” A.S. Vice President Greg Murphy stated in an e-mail.

However, Sangam President Kelly Vasant called the SOFAB vote a “slap in the face,” and said that it would be impossible for her to accommodate the annual 1,200-person audience with on-campus venues such as Mandeville Auditorium, or to be able to show 12 acts without curtains and adequate dressing room facilities in RIMAC Arena.

“[We have] been funded twice off campus and now we’re an annual event,” she said. “I don’t see how this decision was even reached in the first place. This should have been the easiest decision.”

SOFAB interpreted the bylaw incorrectly, since Sangam’s cultural shows pertain to the purpose of the organization, Vasant said.

“[These three events] serve to the sole purpose of [the] organizations: to spread our culture to the UCSD committee,” she wrote in an e-mail to the A.S. Council and SOFAB.

Ohashi held that such a decision was made because senators felt that SOFAB was not the appropriate venue to push for the suspension for an A.S. bylaw, and not because the senators didn’t understand the value of cultural shows.

“Bylaw suspension in itself is an arena that belongs to [the A.S. finance committee],” he said.

Kaibigang Pilipino Chair Carlo Alvear said that his organization had been double-booked on campus, forcing it to plan an off-campus show. He said that he thought it was unfair to receive no money for the annual event that costs about $28,000. Currently, Kaibigang Pilipino is in the process of an appeal, Alvear said.

While the off-campus bylaw is intended to bolster events in the campus community, the UCSD campus clearly lacks in its ability to provide facilities for all events that students may want to organize, Ohashi stated in an e-mail to the A.S. Council.

Vasant, on the other hand, said that the bylaw may be actually taking away from UCSD’s community.

“It’s unnecessary red tape,” she said, referring to the excess of paperwork she has to go through in order to appeal. “I don’t think that the administration on this campus is receptive toward student organizations.”