Updated – Nov. 5, 11:35 p.m.
The SSC’s talks of potential changes to budget allocation for clubs were tabled until its next meeting, during the second convening of the 2015-2016 academic year on Thursday night.
ASSBAC chair Keagan Sakai- Kawada introduced the proposal, highlighting that 27 percent of the 1.4 million all-university club budget went unspent last year, a problem that he said the new system would hopefully fix.
More than 15 members from club life utilized the open format of the meeting to air their grievances, saying that ASSBAC would be micro-managing club activity. Some said the committee did not understand the necessity for last-minute planning and easy access to their funds.
“I had hoped that more people would’ve reached out to me directly before this meeting,” Sakai- Kawada said afterwards. “I had only heard directly from 3 clubs and didn’t know that others were feeling this way.”
Noor Rostoum, the president of Muslim Student’s Association who lined up to speak twice, said he was happy that so many people expressed their concerns with the potential legislation.
“A lot of concerns were expressed and that’s really important,” Rostoum said. “I hope the SAB committee really sits down and re-evaluates what they decide and if not, we’ll be here next month.”
The proposals were tabled and deferred to the committee until the next meeting on Dec. 3, after a vote of 34 in favor, five opposed and five abstaining. The SAB holds office hours Wednesdays and Fridays at 5-6 p.m.
A proposed change to the way clubs receive funding each year has some students worried it may negatively affect the way their organizations are run.
The All-Square Student Budget Allocation Committee will be holding a vote today to change the budget allocation procedure for clubs, proposing to give funding on a per-event basis rather than a lump sum at the beginning of the year. ASSBAC, a branch of the Student Activities Board, handles fund allocation for more than 300 NYU clubs that are open to all university students.
Under the current system, clubs submit their budget proposal in February for the following school year. Based on these proposals, ASSBAC allocates a comprehensive amount of funds to each club, who can then spend the money at it’s own discretion
The proposed changes alter the procedure radically. If the proposal passes, funding will be given on a per-event basis, meaning that clubs must submit proposals for each event they plan to hold and will receive money based on each specific event.
Aside from weekly meetings, each club must have a minimum of three events a semester in order to comply with SAB guidelines. However, there is no maximum to the number of events a club can host and with the proposed changes, they must submit a funding request at least 28 days before the event date.
SPS junior Keagan Sakai-Kawada, the ASSBAC chair, said the proposed changes aim to give all clubs a more equal opportunity to use as much of the money as possible. He said giving all clubs a set amount of money for the year is not as effective when there are clubs whose activity dies down during certain periods and their funding goes unused.
“For example, say every club doesn’t spend a hundred dollars,” Sakai-Kawada said. “In the grand scheme of things, a hundred dollars is not that much but multiply that by all the clubs and that’s 30,000 dollars that is unused.”
Sakai-Kawada also stressed the importance of clubs justifying the events they host, hoping the proposal will lead to holding clubs more accountable to their missions and the funding they request.
However, the proposal has raised concerns with some students on club boards. CAS junior Sana Mayat, a board member on three all-university clubs including the Muslim Student’s Association, is concerned about the effect the proposal will have on the ability of the clubs to function as they do now. She said many of the MSA’s future events will likely be on short notice as reactions to current events and that she is concerned about the ability of the club to have funding for these frequent and timely events, especially with the 28-day deadline the proposal requests.
Apart from her worries that ASSBAC may have trouble handling the amount of requests, she said she is not comfortable with the idea that just 10 students will decide what events are worthy of funding and appropriate for a given club.
“I see [club planning] being a lot more restricted,” Mayat said. “I see it being a lot more subjective in terms of whether our budget gets approved or not. It’s going to make us a lot more nervous when it comes to planning events.”
Kenzi Abou-Sabe, co-editor of the Journal of Politics & International Affairs and a CAS senior, has an issue with the current funding system. She said due to her small staff, it is very difficult to get enough money to meet their needs, especially with the amount of paperwork they must fill out.
“How am I supposed to convince people to spend three hours of their week editing scholarly theses about ISIS if I can’t even give them donuts?” Abou-Sabe asked. “It definitely hinders people when you have to do all this stuff that doesn’t directly relate to your club’s mission, and I get why they make it that way but it still sucks.”
Stern senior and President of the MSA Noor Rostoum is also concerned about the proposal and how it takes the management of a budget out of a club board’s hands.
“I think a part of the student leadership at NYU is that it empowers students to make responsible decisions based on their budgets,” Rostoum said. “Taking that power completely out of the student leader’s hands — I think that is very undemocratic and not the way that this should be done.”
Email Melody Chan at [email protected]