ASG Senate distributes remaining $1,000 of $30,000 funding budget to student orgs


Julian Andreone/The Daily Northwestern

The Associated Student Government Senate meets Tuesday. In last week’s Senate meeting, ASG postponed the remainder of its funding distribution to give senators more time to hash out differences of opinion. Senators distributed the remaining $1,000 to student groups Tuesday.

Julian Andreone, Reporter

The Associated Student Government Senate distributed the remaining money in its $30,000 budget for additional funding to student organizations on Tuesday. 

ASG allocated $28,906 in the first funding senate meeting May 24, but the rest of the funding process was postponed to allow for continued deliberation among senators.

Tuesday’s meeting began with a cutting period, during which senators proposed slashes to existing funding allocations they believed deserved revisiting. 

In the middle of the cutting period, two senators left the meeting. This left ASG Senate below its minimum attendance number to reach quorum, which is required to vote on motions or bills during Senate. ASG members scrambled to gather peers to join the meeting via Zoom to reach quorum again.

One member of ASG Executive Board pulled a random passerby from outside of the meeting room to sit in as an interim senator for a previously absent student group. This is allowed under Senate Code, as student groups can appoint any individual to represent them.

After the Senate regained quorum and passed cuts, the remaining pool to allocate amounted to $1,550. The pool was split between five student groups –– NU BLAST, Esports Club, Spectrum Theatre Company, Vibrant Colors Collective and the Thai Student Association.

The cutting was decided by a mathematical equation designed by Weinberg junior and Senator Phoebe Cahill. The equation multiplied the Senate’s $456 deficit by the percentage of the total budget that each group was allocated. Then, it subtracted that number from each group’s total it was originally funded. The solution to the equation for each group determined its final allocation. 

Cahill said this approach ensured the deficit was accounted for equitably among student organizations. 

Speaker of the Senate and SESP junior Leah Ryzenman opposed the process, saying it was unfair to Senate groups that appealed for funding and would suddenly have allocations slashed.

“I think this is not a good idea,” Ryzenman said. “I think it sets an extremely dangerous precedent.”

Ryzenman relinquished her seat so she would be allowed to state her opinion on the Senate floor before the motion was voted on. Senate Parliamentarian and Weinberg freshman Grace Houren became the de facto Speaker of the Senate for the rest of the meeting and held the vote on the floor, which ultimately passed the cut.

At the beginning of the cutting period, one senator said the $11,000 allocated to For Members Only should be cut by $2,000 to account for an accumulation of unsatisfied requests from other student organizations. 

Incoming FMO Coordinator and Communication junior Rahma Ndao responded by giving a presentation on the Senate floor rebuking the proposed cut and condemning the rhetoric surrounding FMO’s funding request for its Spring Break trip next year to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. 

In this presentation, Ndao specifically referenced an anonymous social media post uploaded after the first funding Senate, which said, “How tf does 1/3 of the remaining budget go to a fully paid for flight and hotel to the beach.”

“It puts a disgusting target on an already historically marginalized group on this campus,” Ndao said. “Learning about Black history is already difficult enough in the United States, and it is demeaning to minimize it as a trip to the beach.”

The allocation for FMO’s trip was ultimately cut by $164.70, since the group accumulated 36% of the Senate’s budget during the original funding senate, to help reduce the $456 deficit.

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