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A-Board proposes expansion amendment

By Charlotte Aaron

Section: News

November 6, 2015

Today students vote on modifications to the Allocations Board that would increase the number of students on the Board and offset elections to ensure there are always members on the Board who have gone through the allocations processes before.

A-Board is a branch of student government with members responsible for allocating $1.7 million to student clubs and organizations. It is composed of five voting members, all elected by the student body.

If the amendment passes, the size of the Board will increase from five to nine, and members will elect a chair of the Board each semester. Three A-Board members are resigning this semester.

Club leaders and members of other branches of student government criticized A-Board after it released club funding information in mid-October. Club leaders were frustrated, as they did not understand how A-Board decided which clubs should receive funds, said Nathan Greess ’19, class of 2019 senator.

“Many clubs have felt personally attacked, and the A-Board has been made to look very unprofessional,” said Student Union President Nyah Macklin ’16 at a Union press conference last Friday in an address to the student body about upcoming changes to Board.

In her speech, Macklin announced the resignation of three voting members of A-Board, positions which will be filled in mid-year elections, according to the Student Union website. Macklin was “very, very sorry to see them go,” and cited other “time commitments” and “need to practice self care” for their resignations.

It was “folks just not really realizing that marathon could be a consuming process,” said Justin Carlisle ’16, chief of staff. “The demand couldn’t be met at a time we really needed it to.”

Marathon, a process in which club leaders request funds from student government and meet individually with A-Board members, takes days, as money to fund events, club supplies and other programs is requested, said Uros Randelovic ’18, one of the recently resigned A-Board members. This year, clubs submitted over 530 proposals for funding, all of which had to be reviewed by A-Board members.

Over the course of the club-funding process, A-Board members spend hours determining which clubs to fund, explained Randelovic. In addition to reviewing each item that clubs request money for, ranging from food to custodial fees to travel expenses, the Board has to consider how much any given club was funded in the past and when the various event will occur.

“We have to consider the events happening on campus across multiple weeks,” said Randelovic. If A-Board approves funding for events all occurring during the first part of the semester, there will be too few events for students to attend during the second half, said Randelovic.

In an effort to revamp A-Board, the changes being voted on, if passed, will cause the Board to grow from five members to nine and retain the two members from the Treasury and the Senate, said Executive Senator David Herbstritt ’17 in his presentation to the Senate on Sunday regarding the A-Board changes.

“There was something troubling about that small amount of people being in charge of $1.7 million,” Herbstritt said.

If the amendment passes, three A-Board members will serve three semester terms. Elections for these positions will be staggered and occur during three different semesters over the course of two years, said Herbstirtt.

“We want to have three A-Board members that run three semester terms as part of a way to keep institutional memory so we don’t have constant complete turnover of the Board.”

In addition, six two-semester seats will exist, with elections for three of the seats held in the fall and elections for the other three seats held in the spring.

Herbstritt hopes this will hold A-Board more accountable, as the public can “get in there … change how it works and get active in the student government” if students have issues with the way the Board is run.

Further, two of these six positions will be filled by two racial minority representatives, one more than in previous years, and two clerks, responsible for helping to “get decisions made faster” and lessen the work burden, said Herbstritt.

Among other changes, the Chair of the Board will serve one semester terms, so if the Chair is doing a bad job, students can vote for a new student to serve in the position, said Herbstritt.

“I’m really hoping that this whole expansion process will make it so that students are actually getting more involved in this process. We want to make sure the campus can trust and support what we’re doing and that they can restore faith into the A-Board,” said Carlisle.

Macklin, Herbstritt and Carlisle were all very active in developing the proposed changes. Other students involved included Class of 2019 Senator Kate Kesselman, A-Board Chairperson Millie Wu ’18, Secretary Shuying Liu ’16, Senior Trustees Representative Grady Ward ’16 and Junior Trustees Representative Emily Conrad ’17.

The polls, accessible by email, opened last night at midnight and will remain open until midnight tonight, Friday.

Correction: A previous version of this article stated that Alex Mitchell ’17 was one of three A-board members to step down. He stepped down as chair but remains on the board.

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