Discussion at Thursday’s Associated Student Body Student Senate meeting was dominated by gifts for students and questions of club funding.
Student Senate passed two bills: one giving away $340 worth of gift cards to students for the Spring 2014 ASB elections, the second giving $410 worth of pencils, blue books, scantrons and campus folders as part of a finals giveaway for 200 students.
Senator Luciana Curtis made clear that the amount spent on trophies last year for the End-of-the-Year banquet, was not $400, as was said at a previous meeting, but actually $659.25. She reiterated that she wants the senators to come to her with ideas.
Phi Theta Kappa requested an amount not to exceed $300 to attend the Spring 2014 Regional Conference. However, the Student Senate was unable to find the money to fund the trip, due to the fact that the Joint Budget Committee submitted their final budget for the year on Feb. 13.
“I don’t want to promise money we don’t have,” Director of Public Relations Daniela Vargas said.
Vice President Tamara Trecek-Dunning then asked if there was “any better way to notify clubs in advance that if you want to request funds it has got to be by such and such a date?”
Director of Finance Jorge Riley said that $510 allocated to the bookstore and to print services has not been spent yet, but adviser Tanika Byrd interjected, saying that those funds must be spent where they have already been allocated.
Student Senate President Kenneth Hinton, said that in the future, clubs will be made more aware of the fact that Student Senate cannot make new monetary commitments at this point in the year.
“I am going to put it in the president’s report for next year that the last day to advertise to advertise, or request for funds, or to start that process is the last meeting in the fall,” Hinton said. “The final budget has to be done by Feb. 14 every single year.”
Riley said that money wasn’t handled properly by the Student Senate this year.
“I would just like to point out that while I was acting student body president, anything that I ever had to do I had to present Miss Tanika with a policy and procedure of how I was gonna interview people, how I was gonna put people on board, how everything was gonna happen,” he said.
“The moment there was an opportunity to spend money, everybody just spent all that money as quick as they could. There was no consideration about the students funding at all. This should have been done a long time ago and I want to note in the record that in December when all these first bills came out, I objected to it.”
Dunning acknowledged that it is “frustrating” to turn down clubs, but offered an alternative explanation.
“I think we have considered every offer that’s come through and the reason there was a rush is because we didn’t have bylaws,” she said. “We’ve done quite a bit of work in the time that we’ve had.”
The Student Senate voted to object to consider.
Phi Theta Kappa isn’t the only club that is having trouble getting money from Student Senate. Riley moved to have discussion on his bill giving money to the College Republicans to visit the California Republican Convention postponed to next week saying that “the only options I had were to try and delay it.”
Riley wanted to know whether the board would give the College Republicans money should money be found. Riley thinks the senate is against spending money on the College Republicans specifically.
“They knew there were still people wanting money,” he said. “They threw that extra money to the banquet, to serve themselves at the banquet. That bill (to fund the College Republicans) was already in their hands, it was already being discussed about. It was their way of making sure I didn’t get any money.”
Ultimately, Clubs and Events Board President Jeremy Diefenbacher blamed Jorge Riley for the problem. Riley was acting Student Senate President last year, and is the current Director of Finance.
“I feel like members of this board are being very disrespectful to the process by which the entire board runs. The end of the fiscal year is on the fourteenth. We all knew that. We’ve been having Joint Budget Committee meetings all year long. At the beginning of this school year I was personally pressuring our acting president (Riley) to start JBC meetings so we could have these discussions earlier in the school year so we wouldn’t be where we are right now. But at the end of the day the budget was submitted and signed by both presidents and both commissioners of finance,” he said.
“And so it’s in. And it’s done. And I’m having issues with the fact that after it’s done, your Director of Finance is questioning why we cannot re-do the budget.”
Diefenbacher was cut off by adviser Tanika Byrd.
Byrd mentioned that workshops were held in this past week for students interested in joining ASB, but that they were poorly attended.\
“We are talking to members of the student populace to see if their interested,” Hinton said. “I have advocated in a few classes and will continue to do so. I am also encouraging members of my board to do the same.”