$25,000 A&O cut proposed by Senate

Diana Samuels

A&O Productions left Associated Student Government’s supplemental funding meeting Wednesday night facing a proposed $25,000 funding cut.

A&O asked for more money than any other student group did in the funding cycle – about $114,000 – and received the largest recommendation: $75,000. At the next ASG meeting, A&O may petition to replace the cut that senators proposed.

Student Activities Finance Board, which oversees student group funding, recommended allotments for 22 student groups and three co-sponsorships at the Oct. 26 Senate meeting. Senators gathered Wednesday to examine the recommendations and to adjust and approve them. They are expected to approve funding at their upcoming Wednesday meeting.

ASG has about $193,300 to distribute to student groups. At the end of Wednesday’s meeting, about $31,000 remained. The money can be added to the recommendations for nine remaining groups, including A&O.

Mayfest received an additional $3,000 from Senate, raising their funding to $22,450. Lovers & Madmen garnered another $185, and Korean American Student Association received a $500 addition to SAFB’s recommendation.

At the beginning of the meeting, A&O’s Director of Finance Mark Zoff volunteered A&O to go last in the funding process, feeling confident in SAFB’s recommendation for the group and hoping to allow other groups a better chance at available money. Although the Senate initially declined the offer, A&O was later moved to the last funding spot.

The group now may be left with the remains of the funding money.

“I didn’t think that senators would be as vindictive as they were and punish A&O,” said Zoff, a Weinberg senior. “My attempt at kindness has basically backfired, and students are hurt as a result.”

The sold-out Kanye West concert showed that students supported A&O, said Doug Singer, A&O’s director of concerts. He addressed the Senate from the front of the room as the meeting was adjourned.

“You can walk away if you want to, but I know for a fact A&O and other student group leaders are much more connected to the student body right now (than senators),” said Singer, a Weinberg senior.

Senators who argued to cut funds from A&O said they were putting the money in the pool to have more flexibility when deciding whether to add money to student groups.

“I’m surprised that (A&O representatives) acted so emotionally,” said Jack Vrett, the off-campus senator who originally motioned to cut $50,000 from A&O. “I thought they could have recognized that all we were doing is grant other student groups a chance.”

Next week Senate might decide to give back to A&O all the money that was cut, said Vrett, a Communication senior.

Senators disregarded the lengthy process SAFB went through in deciding the recommendations, said David Kim, SAFB chairman and ASG’s financial vice president. SAFB members spoke to defend their recommendations throughout the meeting.

“The ASG senators in this room tonight decided to play God,” said Kim, a Weinberg senior. “They weren’t listening to the student group leaders. They were listening to themselves.”

Kim said he wanted to apologize to student-group leaders because he did not think senators considered the wishes of the student body.

Kim was the subject of controversy at the beginning of Wednesday’s meeting stemming from a transfer of A&O funds during the summer. To allow A&O to pay for rapper Kanye West, Kim transferred funds within the group’s allocated SAF money. Senators criticized Kim for not informing the Senate of the transaction.

Reach Diana Samuels at [email protected]