Student-group funding promises need to be fulfilled

By The Chronicle’s View

Lump sum, lump sum, lump sum.

That’s all students heard about when the BLOC Party was campaigning in Associated Students of the University of Utah elections last spring.

Student groups don’t have enough money available and the budget is too limited to accommodate their requests, the party leaders said. Now, more than four months into their term as ASUU leaders, they haven’t granted a single request from student groups for funding.

Instead of creating a true “lump sum” entity that would be spent entirely on student groups, ASUU leaders set aside $225,000 of the Executive Cabinet’s budget for allocation upon review. Meaning, presumably, they can keep what’s not allocated, and even redirect the funds toward Presenter’s Office events at their discretion.

It’s unclear if that’s their intent, but that is the implication one gets from the total lack of advertising that accompanied the fall application period that recently closed.

The administration’s spokesman, Cameron Beech, says the amount of the lump sum is being “discussed.” Yet the results of the requests will be posted on the ASUU Web site “soon,” said ASUU Finance Director Kacey Kalian.

Is ASUU stalling so it can give out as little money as possible? It will be telling to see how much of that money it actually uses and how much it will withhold. None of the money is guaranteed.

It would seem that the administration should make haste with its decisions, considering that student groups are currently trying to create events that rely solely on the funds they expect. These groups aren’t likely to complain about this predicament when they are walking on eggshells to stay in the good graces of the ASUU leaders who will soon decide their fates.

If ASUU leaders say they are going to do something, they need to be held accountable. Student groups are a vital component of student government and a necessary representation of the individuals at our school. Their support is essential to ASUU’s success as a whole.

The BLOC Party stressed student groups’ importance during campaigns. Let’s hope its leaders intend to display those same priorities while in office.