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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Finance board inconsistent in funding allotments and regulations

Published: January 31, 2014
Section: Editorials

In the wake of frenzied marathon meetings and miscommunications, Brandeis University’s Finance Board has proved themselves inconsistent. Marathon meetings are an expected ritual at the start of every semester, as clubs present their budgets for the semester and try to convince F-Board to accept their proposals in full. But instead of calm and informative meetings, they turn into high stress situations for most clubs who cannot be sure how much funding they will receive, and if they will even be able to continue their club’s mission.

F-Board is particularly inconsistent in their treatment of fundraising accounts. In the presentation for club treasurers, they stated that club fundraising accounts “must adhere to University policies, but not F-Board scope.” An appropriate rule, as clubs raise funds, and members should be able to use them as they wish to advance their club’s mission. But F-Board is changing their own rules. In The Hoot’s meeting with F-Board this semester, they decided that The Hoot should use its fundraising account to pay for the printing of the paper. Since, according to their own rule, F board cannot “require” us to use our fundraising account to do so, they informed us that they plan to decrease our funding, so that we are forced to pay for printing from our fundraising account.

This is a backhanded way of requiring us to use our funds for a particular purpose, which they explicitly state is “not under F-Board scope.”

They claim that they do the same for all clubs, but shouldn’t all student groups have the option to use their funds as they would like? Students feel pride for their clubs and for the money they have raised, and the money transfers still have to be ultimately approved by the budget analyst.

The Hoot is not the only club that has a fundraising account. The Justice does as well, and likewise receive money from advertisements just as The Hoot does. F-Board asserted that the Justice will remain able to use their fundraising as they would like. Why should The Hoot, or any other club, be any different?

The funding decisions are rarely popular among clubs, as even clubs who have been on campus for decades are refused even the smallest of requests. We recommend that F-Board be honest with club members during marathon, and hold a face to face discussion about whether they will approve the request or not. It is unfair for club members to be left in the lurch for over a week before they hear if their request was approved, only to have to appeal the decision and attend yet another meeting. It would be practical to simplify the process and give everyone the chance to talk about their proposals in a real discussion with F-board, hearing feedback and having the opportunity to respond before clubs are left to find a decision simply posted online.

Funding a student publication is in the interest of freedom of speech. If the Student Union refuses to give any student publication enough money to print their product, they are hindering students’ right to freedom of speech and the press. Students deserve to know what goes on at Brandeis—from arts events to administrative follies. F-Board should not be allowed to silence the voices of the student body.