The first meeting of the Student Programming Funding Board gave insight into how student organizations will receive funding from now on.
Last year, Carlos Feliciano, then president of the Associated Students of UC Irvine, initiated a policy change at the end of the school year. Instead of each organization requesting their budget at the start of the year, they now request funds as events come up.
Current ASUCI President Stephanie Johnson explained the advantages of the new system.
‘I think it’s a very beneficial way to allocate funds because now there aren’t as many clauses that will keep money from people who want to put on programs in winter or spring,’ Johnson said. ‘There will be a larger pool of money, so that programs that come up just kind of off-the-cuff that can be really beneficial for students, you no longer have to think of them at the end of the prior year. You can think of them as you go and still receive money for them.’
In addition, unused funds will be returned to the SPFB to be given to other clubs that request funding, which was not the case before.
This policy change caused some controversy between campus groups and ASUCI, since some felt the legislation was passed without proper discussion with the many campus organizations that the policy affected.
According to Johnson, the change was done fairly and according to student government guidelines.
‘I personally believe that it was done fairly, considering it was a piece of legislation that came out of student government,’ Johnson said. ‘It was done to our standards and constitutionally, which is the most important thing.’
The board is made up of the ASUCI president, three legislative council members, a member of the Cross Cultural Center and two at-large members appointed by the legislative council.
‘[The CCC is] on the board because there were a lot of concerns from specific members of the CCC in the past, feeling they weren’t represented in a voting matter, that it was one-sided,’ Johnson said. ‘So, to try and ameliorate that we decided to dedicate a spot specifically for a member of a CCC organization.’
During the first meeting of the board on Sept. 14, a variety of clubs requested funds for programs. In order to qualify for consideration, the event for which funds are requested must meet a variety of criteria. For example, events must directly benefit the UCI community and cannot be political in nature.
Accordingly, Students for Peace and Justice were denied funding for a rally because it was too political. The Vietnamese American Coalition was denied funding for its Vietnamese American Mentorship Program because it was ‘not designed specifically for the UCI Community.’
The meetings, which are open to the public, are meant to allow for discussion about whether an organization’s request for funds follows the guidelines of the board. The board goes through each request, determines what the money is paying for specifically and then votes by simple majority whether to grant the organization funding.
‘There is more responsibility in the group handing out money and there are more people aware of how the money is handed out,’ Johnson said. ‘There’s more input from the entire school. … It’s very transparent.’
Often, clubs are given a fraction of their original requests, depending on where the organization has designated certain funds to go. Clubs are also given an opportunity to appeal a decision by the board if they disagree with the basis of the ruling.
Applications for funding are available on the ASUCI Web site.