ASG Senate to consider student-group appeals

Miki Johnson

Student groups big and small will have an opportunity tonight to ask Associated Student Government senators for more funding for the next academic year — and there’s money up for grabs.

Last week the Student Activities Finance Board gave recommendations allocating $869,024 to the 41 student groups eligible to receive funding from the Student Activities Fee pool, fueled by a $120 annual charge to every undergraduate.

There is also an amendment pool with $47,500 in unallocated funds. Several groups have said they are vying for a portion of this money.

The spring-funding process kicks off at 6 p.m. tonight in the Northwestern rooms of Norris University Center, where anyone wishing to challenge SAFB’s recommendations can make an appeal. Many groups have said they are satisfied with the board’s decisions.

The meeting will last up to five hours, beginning with an appeal from College Republicans. Groups that senators do not hear from tonight will have their chance at the Senate meeting next week. Senate has the final say in approving allocations.

The largest recommendation made was for A&O Productions, which was approved for $254,437 — about 28 percent of spring funds. The board did not recommend funding for some of A&O’s programming, but group leaders would not say if they will appeal. A&O is the second group discussed in the appeal process.

Among the groups avidly seeking more money are Alternative Spring Break, which failed to gain funding for Spring Break site costs, and College Republicans, which received a lower recommendation than that of rival group College Democrats.

After dodging in February a recommended demotion to B-status, which would have made it ineligible for student funding, ASB will have to fight for funding for its primary programming — a battle that is becoming annual.

Erica Williamson, ASG financial vice president, said SAFB did not recommend funding the trip for the same reason the board originally wanted to demote the group: ASB uses a selective application process, and most of their programming is off campus. Last spring Senate granted ASB’s appeal for additional funds.

Melissa McGonegle, outgoing ASB co-programming director, said SAFB guidelines are too narrow. “Part of what makes ASB so memorable is the exposure to all sorts of different sites all over the country,” the Education senior said.

College Republicans President Ben Kohlmann said he will complain that the $25,586 SAFB recommended to his group is not on par with the funding for College Democrats.

Kohlmann said the group wants to bring more recognizable speakers to campus after having success this year with rock ‘n’ roll activist Ted Nugent and political commentator Robert Novak.

“With the (money) available, we see a real opportunity to increase the money we were allocated,” said Kohlmann, a Weinberg junior. “The funding increase that I have proposed is directly in line with (past years).”

Also planning to appeal are several cultural groups, including some of NU’s largest campus organizations.

SAFB’s recommendation of $19,029 would give Asian American Advisory Board $8,000 more than last year. But AAAB President Alan Fu said the larger figure only funds one event, instead of the two the group received money for in past years.

Williamson said it “made more sense” to fund one large AAAB event because of the success of the group’s spring comedian, Margaret Cho.

“I totally understand that money is tight,” said Fu, a Weinberg senior, but added that AAAB still will appeal but for less funding than they originally requested.

Like AAAB, the Muslim-cultural Students Association’s recommendation from SAFB was higher than last year. McSA co-President Danish Qureshi said they too will ask for more money.

Williamson said SAFB could not approve the $10,000 McSA requested for a political-awareness speaker because groups normally do not receive large jumps in funding. Qureshi said McSA, which appeals eighth, will petition for an additional $3,000 to fund a Fall Quarter speaker.

Of two cultural groups that received less funding than last year, only one — black-student alliance For Members Only — plans to appeal, said group Coordinator Tracy Carson.

Although FMO received a recommendation of about $13,000 less than last year, Williamson said the board recommended increased funds for a Fall Quarter speaker. The major difference in funding this year is for FMO’s Winter Quarter comedy show, which was unsuccessful, she said.

Carson, a Weinberg junior, declined to comment on SAFB’s recommendation.

Latino group Alianza received a smaller recommendation than last year, but incoming President Karla Diaz said the group made strides in other areas because SAFB recommended full funding for Festival LatiNU, an October event that celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month.

“You could always use more money, but we really aren’t complaining,” said Diaz, a Weinberg sophomore.

Groups wishing for more funds after the process can apply for them during fall supplemental funding, when another pool of student monies is available.

The Daily’s Alison Knezevich contributed to this report.