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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

After negotiation, Student Events returns to F-board oversight

Published: April 18, 2008
Section: Front Page

Following two weeks of negotiations, Student Events has agreed to return under the oversight of the Finance Board. Student Events, citing delays and inefficiency with the F-board’s method of accessing funds, placed themselves under the jurisdiction of Senior Vice President of Students and Enrollment Jean Eddy in November.

“The Union presented all their changes in terms of its fiscal year—they said we’re willing to go above and beyond funding you may receive from any other source from Jean, from everyone,” said Student Events Financial Director Ben Gordon ’08. “Considering we want to make bigger events, we came to an agreement that means we will get a guaranteed amount of money and work in the framework that we need.”

“The Union really wanted us to come back, from what they’ve said they really want the benchmark of having allocations of having over a million dollars—that’s very important to them to have a benchmark of a million,” he added. “They wanted us back—they didn’t want money being spent by a student group, especially a secured organization that they had no say over.”

Student Events Co-Director Ilyssa Adler ’09 said, “I think the most important thing is we’re not ‘going back’ to the F-board—we’re turning a new leaf…we’re both groups that are meant to serve campus life. We were able to come to an agreement that will only help the student body.”

“I’m glad we can put our finances behind us,” said Student Union President Shreeya Sinha ’09. “[Now] we can work together more on improving social life, engaging students and supporting each other to put on the most innovative ideas and policies.” When asked about the evolution of the negotiations, Sinha said that the F-board kept Student Events’ criticisms in mind when altering the Treasury protocol.

According to Student Union Treasurer Choon Woo Ha ’08, under the new proposal, Student Events could ask for additional funds past its benchmark using the F-board’s 24-hour system, and apply for a P-Card to expedite payments. Ha also added that Student Events would be able to apply for a grant, which would allow the group to transfer funds amongst their various requests.

“If we have extra money left over… instead of appealing to the F-board to have it changed or giving it back to the Union we can move it straight over,” said Student Events Co-Director Lauren Barish ’08. “It allows us a lot more flexibility in terms of our planning.”

Ha, meanwhile, said he was satisfied with the arrangement, because Student Events would honor the Student Union Constitution and its bylaws.

Gordon said that another incentive to return to the Student Union was additional funds. “The Union basically told us that they can give us money in excess—a huge sum of money that we could never get from Jean Eddy…we believe they have a lot of rollover money. They have a lot of money that needs to be reallocated: to have more barbeques to have more concerts, to put on a huge concert,” he said. “We really believe we can get an allocation of $150,000, which even under our budget under Jean, we would never be able to do.”

Indeed, according to Sinha, “the maximum that Student Events was receiving from the administration used to be their minimum baseline amount received as a secured organization from the Finance Board.”

When asked about the administration’s response to the new proposal, Gordon said they were supportive of the idea: “They’re all supportive…with $150,000 budget, the possibilities are very, very large to us—we can plan a lot bigger than we thought.”

Barish added, “I think there’s two things: I think the first thing was similar to what the Union was saying. I think Student Events and the Student Union are the two most powerful and prominent organizations on this campus—if the two organizations can work with respect to each other, a lot of good things can happen.”

Adler added that the arrangement was “done in a very friendly way… it was something the groups approached each other with,” she said. “We have a lot of respect for the Union, and the Union for us, and this is a reflection of that.”

“It’s good that students were able to come to an agreement amongst themselves without interference from anybody,” said Ha. “It’s all about communication…our constitution and the bylaws are going to be protected, and that’s the best part. That’s why I’m so proud that students were able to do this.”