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COR discusses funds bias

Liz O'Donnell | Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Council of Representatives discussed the process of allocating funds in its meeting Tuesday evening, with student body president Bob Reish expressing his concerns about possible bias when funds are distributed.

Although the council ultimately decided that bias within the Financial Management Board (FMB) would be eliminated based on the checks and balances in place in the board, discussion was spurred by interest among COR members in learning about the allocation process, specifically from which sources the money comes, and where the money goes.

Currently, the allocation process takes place in the spring and members of student government organizations (class councils, Club Coordination Council and others) create proposals that are given to the FMB at the allocation meeting.

Members of the FMB, which include outgoing members from student government, listen to all the proposals and then decide on fund allocation.

Reish wanted the council to take a closer look into the process to determine whether or not there were any biases present during the allocation process.

“I am concerned if the case arises where an individual campaign loses to a challenger, that when the new body goes to propose their budget that there could be some bias as to who will receive the funding,” Reish said. “I feel that this definitely could occur and that it would be relevant to discuss,” he said.

Although most of the members felt that this was not a significant issue, they chose to talk about possible ways to prevent it from occurring.

Members discussed the idea of using a reward system as a means for allocating funding by apportioning more money to a group who had functioned well during the previous school year and taking away money from others that had poor performances.

This, however, posed to present a possible issue for the new incoming administrations. Many of the council members were concerned that the incoming administrations should not be penalized for the flaws of its predecessors.

Another suggestion was made to possibly open the allocation decision meetings to allow both the incoming and outgoing members of the councils to be in attendance.

This, however, also proved to be an issue because it would lengthen the meetings extensively, something that would only serve as a hindrance to the process, members decided.

There was a general consensus among COR members who had attended an allocation meeting that the meetings were already long. They feared that increasing the meetings’ duration would make members less likely to make many, if any changes at all to the budget from the previous year.

The members concluded, however, that the checks and balances within the FMB would eliminate any bias held by one member.

This, however, does not mean that all groups will always get all the money they have requested.

“There is never enough money to go around,” said Kadeja Gaines, the Student Union Treasurer. “Hardly anyone ever gets all that they ask for.”

Other COR notes:

u Members of COR discussed the reaction of members of the Hall President’s Council to the same-sex event planning. The female halls were in favor of the idea, while the male dorms felt that it would be better if there was funding involved.