ASI approves student organization budget requests early

The Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) Board of Directors voted to unanimously approve mid-year budget requests from multiple student organizations on Feb. 20, despite contention on the timing of the vote. 

Originally, the board was scheduled to listen to and discuss the financial requests that student organizations had previously presented to the ASI Finance Committee and vote on those requests at the following board meeting. However, one organization, Lambda Theta Phi, urged the board to vote as soon as possible.

Collins College of Hospitality Management Senator Lucy Yu introduced a motion to suspend the traditional procedure and instead vote on the requests within the same meeting, which sparked debate as to whether to vote on the requests during this meeting or the next.

ASI Treasurer Noah Tonies clarified that organizations requesting funding for events occurring prior to March 5 would have to be reimbursed for their expenses, rather than being provided a check to cover those costs. 

ASI Attorney General Manshaan Singh, a third-year environmental biology student, said, “If we can save students the headache of having to front the money, which I’ve personally gone through – it’s not a fun process – if we can save a few of the clubs from going through that process, I would personally recommend that.”

The ASI Board of Directors approves change in procedure to immediately vote on budget requests by a vote of 7-4-0. (Nicolas Hernandez | The Poly Post)

Yu, a third-year hospitality management student, explained the rationale for her motion. “My thought process was doing what’s best for our students,” Yu said. “Why don’t we approve this now? Why are we making them wait, why are we making us wait, let’s make their lives easier, and if that means we have to sit here for a little bit longer, so be it.”

However, some members such as College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences Senator Alexis Ramirez had reservations about moving forward that same day. 

“At the end of the day, we want all the student clubs to get their money, but we had seven presentations, we had never done that before,” Ramirez said. “There were a lot of factors, data and presentations that we heard, so it was really difficult to have all the details for each club. And that’s why we usually spend two weeks just to try to analyze if the money that’s being asked is properly being spent, because it’s student fees, so we want them to use it properly.”

Ramirez also stated that he had concerns for setting the precedent of suspending the usual procedures, “even when it’s not necessary.” 

Yu’s motion to vote on the budget requests passed with a vote of 7-4-0, counting votes in favor, against and abstaining.

Concerning the timing of the vote, ASI Vice President Rachel Hunter stated, “At the end of the day, if (the board) felt comfortable enough to go through it, they should vote on it, and they did.” 

The funding to the student organizations, with the exception of Psi Chi, a psychology honor society that did not present its request to the board, was approved unanimously with an 11-0-0 vote. 

The money provided to these organizations will be provided by the New Programs and Augmentations reserve which, according to the ASI website, is designed to “support registered student clubs and organizations.”

As part of Yu’s initial motion, the board also voted on whether to approve Natalie Kassar to fill the vacancy in the position of officer of civic engagement. Samantha Fidel, the ASI secretary of external affairs and previous officer of civic engagement, recommended Kassar for the position. The board unanimously approved Kassar for the position with an 11-0-0 vote.

ASI’s next Board of Directors meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 27. 

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