Don’t slash A&O’s funding

What I’m hearing from Senate is they don’t want another Kanye West,” A&O chairman Peter Kahn said this week, after the first round of student group funding debates Wednesday.

It’s particularly ironic Kahn and A&O heard those sentiments from the Associated Student Government the same day more than 1,000 students waited in line for hours to buy tickets to the Kanye West show. The student body made it clear that it wants Kanye West and other big name artists.

So why is ASG making it harder for A&O to give students what they want? Senators rejected a recommendation from the Student Activities Finance Board that A&O receive $75,000 in supplemental fall funding. They voted to slash the recommendation by $25,000 and, in doing so, proposed giving the group $5,000 less overall than they received last year.

The group held six events last year paid for by student activities fees, selling out four of those events and coming close to selling out the others. Senators completely disregarded A&O’s successful year when they rejected the funding recommendation.

Some ASG members, in the name of transparency, were hesitant to award the group more money. This summer A&O shifted funds designated for its spring performance to pay for Kanye West in the fall. Groups usually have to petition the SAFB to reallocate money, but A&O couldn’t wait for the SAFB to reconvene and vote in the fall or it would lose West. So Financial Vice President David Kim made the call himself without consulting the SAFB.

Students groups need a certain amount of flexibility to reallocate funds over the summer, otherwise fall programming would suffer. Kim made the right decision based on precedent. It’s also unfair to punish A&O – which punishes the student body in general – for what ASG regards as a procedural error.

Other ASG members worry it isn’t fair for A&O to get nearly 40 percent of the $193,340 in supplemental fall funding. It’s costly to bring a big artist, so naturally A&O requires a lot more money than, say, Arts Alliance. A&O may be only one group, but their programming affects the entire NU community, rather than an individual niche.

Senate still has the chance to correct its mistake. ASG should use the money left over in the Senate amendment pool and award A&O the $75,000 first recommended; because regardless of what Senate wants, students want another Kanye West.