Senate, student groups gear up for round 2 of funding

Anything is possible at Senate.

Last week, senators discussed suspending portions of the Student Activities Finance Board guidelines to give more freedom to the funding process for student groups.

If that idea were floated again tonight — and passed — A&O Productions could be stripped of the highly contested $50,000 chunk it got last week.

Although nobody has explicitly suggested that the action will happen tonight, it is a possibility, according to Speaker of the Senate Richard Caldarone. A two-thirds vote would be required to suspend the guidelines.

Associated Student Government President Adam Humann said he would speak strongly against overturning the guidelines.

“If Senate wanted to cut and add at any time, then they could have passed the legislation earlier this year,” said Humann, pointing out the unfairness to groups who already received funding. “It completely destroys the integrity of the process.”

But with a dwindling pool of money and 31 student groups still with potential appeals for funding, something’s got to give — especially because A&O took so much money out of the pot for a winter comedian.

“They throw money at the group like there’s no tomorrow,” said Weinberg junior Brad Helfand, whose group, Hillel Cultural Life, will appeal for additional funds for its winter comedian.

Organizers of Fall Fest — one of the most expensive events not recommended for funding — plan to appeal at their turn.

Sarah Personette, president of the Panhellenic Association, one of three Greek organizations that sponsor Fall Fest and the COLORS speakers, said the group will not appeal for a winter COLORS speaker in light of the funding for the other two quarters’ speakers.

Personette, a Weinberg junior, said because of that sacrifice, she would ask senators to support funding for Fall Fest, a $26,500 event. The sponsors listed Freddy Jones Band as the band for Fall Fest, but SAFB will not hold them to that name.

“Aside from A&O, it’s one of the only events that provide entertainment besides speakers,” Personette said.

Financial Vice President Ramesh Srinivasan said at last week’s meeting that the event does not need $25,000 from ASG to be successful, based on this year’s performance in which it received less than its request from Vice President for Student Affairs Peggy Barr.

Interfraternity Council President Dustin Cook said it has taken three quarters to pay the last Fall Fest bill and that Barr’s money covered little more than security. Last year ASG funded $10,000 for the event, but this year SAFB did not recommend any funds. “It will not happen without funding from SAFB,” Cook said.

The tailgates sponsored by the Greek tri-council also did not receive recommendations for funding, but Cook said his group’s decision to appeal for funding will depend on the money left.

Alianza is debating whether it will appeal for its winter speaker. It will, however, appeal for its fall speaker and for $10,000 more for Comedy Beatdown, said Junior Martinez, Alianza treasurer.

Last week, Srinivasan, a Weinberg junior, said Alianza’s funding recommendation decreased from last year because of problems with attendance and contracts. Although its most recent event, the Comedy Beatdown, had an excellent showing, it faced severe contract difficulties, Srinivasan said.

While ASG mostly funds events sponsored by students groups, it requested funds for a service Senate voted to provide to students earlier this year.

Steve Spaulding, former ASG president and now Northwestern Community Development Corps senator, said he would appeal for funding the paddleboats on the Lakefill at a cost of $17,100. ASG itself was one of two student groups that SAFB recommended to not fund at all.

Spaulding, a Weinberg senior, said students expressed their desire for paddleboats when senators passed legislation calling for them and when they elected Humann, who included the paddleboats as part of his platform to reinvigorate the Lakefill.

Srinivasan said it would not be fair for ASG to fund itself over student groups and said the SAFB was concerned with a rental fee for students who already have to pay the Student Activities Fee.

Administrators have said they would fund the remaining portion as long as ASG puts up the money for the boats, life-saving equipment and other items, according to Spaulding. A rental fee of $5 an hour would cover staff costs.