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A-Board concerns

For all clubs to receive funding on Brandeis’ campus they must all adhere to one stipulation: they must be all-inclusive. But as practice from this semester shows, no matter how inclusive a club may be, no one is getting funding! The Allocations Board has been all over the place this semester and clubs, no matter what they do and where they go, are suffering. For clubs to offer full services to students on campus funds are needed to provide adequate equipment and supplies. It is central to the Brandeisian club model that everyone is able to participate but as treasury and A-board currently stands, only students with the proper equipment can partake in those clubs. This fundamentally challenges the university’s key tenet of inclusivity and limits the extent to which current club members can partake in the activities which they hold so dear. A-board needs to step up because clubs and consequently one of the strongest centers of social life on campus is suffering. Student Union Treasury has done their best in creating a task force and working hard around their own classes and activities, but like a virus, any slow down in the financial system impacts the entire system set up around it. This issue with this system first comes down to the staffing of it. At the moment there are only four members of A-board, while it should be more than double this number. While it is not those members’ fault that the system is as clogged up as it is, at the moment it is simply not okay that only four of them are working at a single time. Especially in the year coming out of the more serious lockdowns of the pandemic, clubs are trying their best to be active and get out again. For this to properly be made possible, more than four members are needed to adequately distribute funding and make sure clubs can partake in their respective activities. Those four are overworked and need more support to carry out this job because as students they have their own physical and mental health needs along with working for their education. This simply comes down to the fact that elections were mismanaged and the correct number of A-board members were not properly elected. Secondly, the treasury training and office did not begin as early as it was supposed to with emails of training coming out in mid-September. How are clubs with specific needs for equipment on day one supposed to get what they need in time if they physically do not have the mechanism to access their funds until the semester is four weeks over. This has placed an incredible burden on the leadership of clubs to pick up the slack where A-board has been lacking and front money for the needed equipment and materials. Clubs should not be dependent on their leadership to support them financially since the university has it within the club stipulation that they will be provided for. Because of this however, clubs have had to fill out more reimbursement forms than they have in past semesters. This is effectively inundated A-board and treasury with forms which they would usually not have to approve of as often so that clubs can be properly reimbursed for the equipment they’ve had to purchase on their own. This has slowed them down on their own time and it has backed up the entire system a considerable amount. Clubs are unable to use the funds they have to buy equipment and materials and when they put their own money forwards they are simply not being reimbursed in a timely manner as some clubs have been waiting since late September for reimbursement checks. To make matters worse, the training that was presented to club officers and particularly treasurers of clubs was not sufficient enough for them to understand how the system of Presence works. The system is not user-friendly and if we are not trained properly it is easy to see why so many students do not know what forms they need to fill out to properly access their funds. In fact, in a recent email from the Dean of Students Office they made sure to tell students not to fill out certain forms because they are not appropriate in being able to access the funds they are trying to use. Clubs are not only unable to use the funding they have but they simply do not know how to access it. When trying to promote a club culture on campus which is all inclusive a huge hurdle to that is being able to understand the system in place so that students can access the proper materials they need. The training has to be more substantive for it to be effective in teaching students how it works. It is almost November and it is utterly shameful to see how improperly A-board has been handled. Clubs have been unable to access funds. Club leadership has had to front the cost for their own clubs’ activities and A-board has been unable to properly reimburse them. On top of that, the general misunderstanding of how Presence works is a massive hurdle to clubs getting their activities going. A-board and the university need to get their act together because so long as everything remains as it is at this moment, it flies in the face of every word they speak about being all-inclusive.

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