CUSC in Brief: April 19, 2016

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This week was the last meeting of the 105th session of Student Council, immediately after which the 106th session with the new Executive Board called its first meeting to order.

Club budgets for next semester were approved during this meeting, so Treasurer Rohan Roger (‘18) and Finance Chair Andres Gvirtz (’18) both gave presentations on club funding prior to the voting process. Roger stated that the number of funded clubs and events had risen drastically in the past five years. Specifically, 119 funded clubs were registered this year and there was a total of 830 events this Fall Semester. The Student Activity Fee is $350 per undergraduate student, which creates a Student Activities Fund (SAF) of approximately $750,000. 52 percent of the SAF goes towards constitutionally funded institutions and 38 percent goes towards all other funded clubs on campus.

Gvirtz’s presentation noted that since the Student Activity Fee has not changed since 2007, its purchasing power has decreased due to inflation. That, combined with the large number of clubs, meant the Finance Committee had to make a significant number of cuts to budget requests and worked more than thirty hours in total to do so. Specifically, the student body requested approximately $420,000 in clubs budgets this year, but only $250,000 was available to be given out. In spite of these constraints, Gvirtz stated that most clubs that submitted their complete applications had their events nearly or fully funded.

A student representative from the Student Alumni Relations Committee (SARC) had complaints regarding the club’s lower budget allocation, due to what they said was a systems failure with LINK not allowing them to submit their proposal on time. Roger responded saying that LINK is secure and would have notified them if a failure occurred. Gvirtz said that the Finance Committee was not happy with the decision regarding SARC’s budget, but he stated he could not treat them any differently because of the circumstances.

Afterwards, the budget allocations for next semester passed with 11 votes in favor and four abstentions.

Laura Barker (‘17) of the Student Life Committee said that the last Boston buses will be running this Friday and that shuttles will be running to the mall during Reading Days. Judiciary Chair Lauren Howard (‘17) presented the charter for the African Dance Diaspora Association, as well as edits to charters of the Music Society of Clark University and the European Student Association, all of which were approved. Elections Chair Joya Hall (‘19) announced that there were only two applications for Major Events Committee Chair. Minority Representative Josh DeMelo (‘18) agreed to send out an email asking for more applicants for the position.

CUSC then passed two cumulative surplus requests: 105.01 for Film Equipment for Film Production Society and 105.02 for CUSC Office Renovations.

At the end of the meeting, President Kevin Kim (‘16) thanked Council for all of their hard work during the academic year and presented a commemorative plaque in honor of the 105th session. It was at this moment that he inaugurated Cory Bisbee (‘19) as president and Gvirtz as Treasurer.

Having done so, CUSC immediately adjourned and then readjourned for the 106th session. Bisbee appointed and Council approved William Heikes (‘17) as Finance Chair and DeMelo as Communications Chair. The Financial Reform and Cost Restructuring Ad Hoc Committees were all reestablished and Gvirtz was appointed chair of those as well.   

Grants:

  • $1,012 was allocated to Brittany Dennis (‘17) for camera equipment for her research on education policies and gender inequality in tea plantations and Gypsy communities in Sri Lanka over the summer.
  • $1,500 was allocated to Absar Ali (‘18) to pay for a portion of his living costs during his internship at the Permanent Mission of Pakistan in New York City.
  • $1,460 was allocated to Rohan Roger (‘18) and Siddhartha Dogra (‘18) to pay for their transportation and hotel expenses at the 2016 Summer Youth Assembly at the United Nations.
  • $1,600 was allocated Julia Carrasquel (‘16) to pay for her equipment and living expenses during her Sustainable Urban Agriculture Project in Bogotá, Colombia.
  • $2,625 ($875 per person) was allocated to Zion Bereket (‘18), Samantha Hinchey (‘18), and Anh Nhu (‘18) for the expenses of YourStory International Summer Expedition in Leogane, Haiti.
  • $320 was allocated to Alexander Vesenka (‘18) to purchase a metal cutting band saw, which will be used for his independent study next semester in which he will be making sets for the Theatre Department. The saw will belong to the Theatre Department after the independent study is finished.
  • $200 was allocated to Ben Berman (‘16) to purchase prizes for the Elephant Thursday Prize Cash-In. This will be the last cash-in for Elephant Thursday, as Berman will be graduating this May.

Monday will be the last day of grants spending. The remainder of the grants funding will go towards the cumulative surplus.