Last night’s meeting of the 16th Undergraduate Senate saw the continued discussion of the lack of funding facing general fees groups.
Student group representatives, including those from Students for Reproductive Justice and Women’s Coalition, have repeatedly visited ASSU Senate meetings over the past few weeks desiring clarification about the spring quarter funding bills. Some groups have also appealed to the Senate about the various miscommunications that have occurred these past few weeks.
“We don’t understand why we can’t have general fees funding,” said Simon Hudson ’16, a member of Challah for Hunger. “We have reached out to the Senate Appropriations Committee and we received no response. We don’t understand why overspending on your part has prohibited giving funds to student groups.”
“We had $2,000 pulled from events services fund,” Hudson said. “We bake challah and buy all the ingredients, but the money has been taken out without warning.”
There have also been lingering questions over whether the Senate has been promptly responding to student groups and whether there has been a cooperative effort and discussion of the various monetary withholdings from student organizations.
Chair Ben Holston ’15 reminded student groups that the Senate meetings were open to public.
In an effort to address these student groups’ concerns, the Senate drafted the Bill to Appropriate General Fee Reserves for Spring Quarter General Fee Funding. Taking into consideration the advice given by Stanford Student Enterprises (SSE), the Senate decided to use money from general fees reserves as opposed to the buffer fund reserves.
“Spending out of the buffer fund and general fees reserve are both bad, but spending from the buffer fund is worse,” said Financial Manager Frederick Groce. “Buffer fund money is not meant to go to student groups, whereas the general fees reserve is meant to go to student groups. If the Senate is going to pass another bailout, the best option is to take money out of general reserve fee.”
Furthermore, the former assistant financial manager Stephen Trusheim ’13 M.S. ’14 underscored the SSE’s relationship with the Senate, explaining that taking money from the buffer fund is not a sustainable way of funding student organizations.
“We are not here to veto things,” said Trusheim. “We are here because we need to help and monitor the financial status of the Senate…[Most importantly], we still haven’t fixed the core underlying issues that are causing this funding problem.”
However, many Senators also expressed discontent about the ambiguity of the buffer fund and its purpose. The current Senate Constitution and bylaws do not specify the purpose of buffer funds.
The Bill to Appropriate General Fee Reserves for Spring Quarter General Fee Funding was passed by the 16th Senate, effectively allowing the Senate to allocate $75,000 to fund student groups this spring quarter.
Contact Peter Moon at pmoon ‘at’ stanford ‘dot’ edu.