Senate reviews bylaw changes for Allocations Board marathons
The Senate is reviewing proposed changes to the Allocations Board procedure that determines club funding in the Student Union Bylaws, according to an email from Student Activities Specialist Robert Steinberg to club leaders on Sunday. The amendment to the bylaws would consolidate the number of funding marathons held each year to one per semester, determining the club funding for the entire next semester. The Senate will vote on the amendment on Sunday, and, if enacted, would go into effect next November, Student Union Vice President David Herbstritt ’17 said in an interview with the Justice.
The proposed amendment would reduce the number of marathons held to two per year, with one near the end of each semester, which would determine funding for the following semester. While the proposed system would require clubs to plan further in advance when seeking funding for events, it would simplify the process by consolidating steps and give the A-Board “more of a time cushion, so that if something does go wrong, God forbid, people aren’t going to be affected as severely,” explained Herbstritt in an interview with the Justice.
Herbstritt clarified in an email to the Justice that there would still be an appeals process but that instead of holding an entire appeals marathon, “clubs will reach out to the A-Board right after decisions and schedule a time to meet with the Board, usually at a regular weekly time.”
“Currently, how marathon sessions work, they’re really kind of an inconvenience to everyone involved,” Herbstritt said regarding the four different types of marathon sessions each year. The current system consists of Early Marathon, held at the end of each semester for the following semester; Regular Marathon, held at the beginning of each semester for the current semester; Appeals Marathon, held to allow clubs to appeal decisions made during either Early or Regular marathons; and Emergency Requests, held throughout the semester to allow clubs to request last minute funds, as outlined in the current bylaws.
The other change to the system as it stands is that instead of scheduling time slots for each club to come in during marathon sessions, all A-Board sessions will now be run as drop-in hours, where clubs can come by to discuss their funding requests. “What we’re trying to do is, we’re trying to open up the idea of the marathon session to be much more accessible; we want people to be able to come talk to somebody and then leave if they’ve got a quick question, or if they have something more in depth, talk to somebody for a little bit longer,” Herbstritt said.
The amendment reads, “The Allocations Board shall hold at least six drop-in sessions in the month preceding the deadline for Marathon requests. Members of the Allocations Board and a representative from the Department of Student Activities shall be present at each session. … These drop-in sessions shall allow Union Accredited Organizations the chance to ask questions about the intricacies of requesting funds and to provide additional justifications for any pending requests.”
In order to provide A-Board with all of the information it needs to make decisions, Herbstritt said that the Union plans to introduce a supplementary form for clubs to fill out about each event they want to host, in addition to the Student Union Management System that every club must use to request funding. Herbstritt explained that in SUMS, “You don’t really have enough room for everything you’d like to put, so they’re hoping that they can get more information and clearer information.”
He added that there will be some short-term drawbacks to the new plan, primarily that it will cause a very busy period of time next fall when regular marathons are happening and marathons for the next semester will also begin. However, Herbstritt said, “from then on it becomes the norm, there’s no real especially dense part of the year.”
This proposed amendment comes on the heels of a tumultuous allocations process in the fall semester, where many clubs received far less funding than they had hoped. This led to many clubs appealing the A-Board decisions, and eventually a constitutional amendment increasing the number of members and the length of their terms on A-Board.