Reggae-Fuss: Show Me the Money

Shocktoberfest is done with and Wayzgoose has passed, and with the academic year coming to a close, many students look forward to Reggaefest to finish off their 2013 school year. But recently, legislation within ASUCI has been passed to divert money to the Office of Student Services to fund Reggaefest; money that had been previously allocated to the Student Program Funding Board (SPFB).

Here’s a refresher on our associated student government, and how things are run. Programs like Shock and Wayzgoose are not free. Students pay with a fraction of their tuition, which funds the student government to serve, protect and promote the rights of students, to unite them and give them a voice and to foster school spirit through entertaining and memorable events. Each event takes significant planning ahead of time; however, that seems to be an issue with Reggaefest. These flurries of last-minute reactions come a bit late. Student Service Vice President Jessica Phan herself claimed at the Legislative Council meeting last week that three months were needed to book an artist for Reggaefest, but allocations are happening now, with less than three weeks before the event. At the same meeting, Phan further claimed that the reason for this delay is because her accounts are frozen.

In typical cases, banks freeze accounts when they detect suspicious activities or when the account holder spends more than the account has in its budget. But students have not received a proper explanation as to why this is the case. There are only speculations, and an official explanation is needed and yet has not been given.

This is a significant lack of accountability and transparency. Student Services are transferring over $17,000 to fund Reggaefest from the SPFB. But, something had to happen to cause the $17,000 deficiency in the first place.

Representative Reza Zomorrodian of the Legislative Council brought up a good point when he stated that Reggaefest is a promise to the students. But at the same time, taking money from students is itself an unspoken promise that their money will be spent responsibly, and that at the end of the day they will receive what they paid for.

Students are willing to pay. Earlier this year, ASUCI asked concertgoers to pay for their Shocktoberfest wristbands (which had been free in previous years), and pay they did. They were willing to accept the cost, and many had fun. In principle, this should have brought a sense of security for sufficient event funds (after all, they paid more under pretense of bringing a better performer to campus). Yet, a deficit in event funds on behalf of Student

Services still exists. So, in light of what’s going on, students are paying more to potentially lose more, and that should never be the case.

Our students are willing to give money to their university. But, that does not give ASUCI the right to be reckless with our contributions. We deserve an explanation.

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