Overhauled A.S. Budget Aims to Streamline Org Funding

    A.S. President Harry Khanna’s funding proposal includes a whole new look to the A.S. Council’s multimillion-dollar budget, meant to cut “red tape” and ease financial policies that some student organizations complain are too complicated.

    The new budget proposal includes an increase in unallocated money for student organizations, which Khanna said is aimed at eliminating the barriers that organizations face when trying to host events on campus. Under the current policy, the A.S. Council allocates much of the money to the college councils, which then distributes it to the student organizations. According to Khanna, cutting the amount of money that previously went to the college councils will make it more convenient for organizations holding off-campus events to receive money.

    Khanna also reinstituted service stipends and increased A.S. executive office stipends in his proposal, which he said will prevent outside job distractions and encourage a full-time commitment.

    “Money should not be a barrier that prevents … officers from getting involved,” Khanna said.

    During this and last year’s A.S. elections, two-time candidate and Earl Warren College senior Daniel Watts criticized stipends given to A.S. officers, and said the money was spent wastefully instead of being made available to students. This year, former A.S. President Christopher Sweeten cut service stipends, distributed to administrators in student services such as Student-Run Television, from the budget.

    “I think [this] year’s cutting was a mistake,” Khanna said. “If services are paid, then [the employee] will act and feel like an employee who has the support of the administration.”

    Despite decreased use of A.S. Safe Ride this year — after a funding increase in last year’s budget — Khanna still proposed allocating the same $27,000 to the program, which provides free transportation home on certain nights to any UCSD student who has signed up, particularly those who are too inebriated to drive. Khanna said consistent funding will allow the program to return to the “sticker system,” which allows all UCSD students to get sticker passes for their ID cards, enabling them to receive unlimited transportation instead of the three-rides-per-quarter limit instituted this year. Khanna said that the current punch-card system was not only poorly advertised, but inconvenient because it forced students to visit the A.S. offices on the third floor of Price Center to fill out a card.

    Additionally, Khanna created a new category in the budget titled “tradition events.” This category will fund annual events that have consistently attracted at least 300 students for 10 or more years.

    According to Vice President Finance Conrad Ohashi, the new plan is better because it will prevent the Student Organization Funding Advisory Board and the A.S. finance committee from facing roadblocks in allocating as much money as possible to student organizations. Currently, the A.S. Council must vote and approve transferring money between line items.

    “I’m tired of having to deal with business cycles and the red tape that prevents more funding to student organizations,” Ohashi said.

    Readers can contact Dora Scheidlinger at [email protected].

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