ASCMC Board Talks Budget, Passes Constitutional Amendment

Reexamining the 2012-2013 budget was the main topic of discussion at Sunday night’s meeting of the Associated Students of Claremont McKenna College Executive Board.  The board voted to pass an amendment to the ASCMC constitution that paves the way for the passage of a new budget provided to the board by the Budget Committee. Currently, the constitution requires the Executive Board to provide every dorm $30 per student per year. The amendment would cut this in half, making room for the budget to separate dorm funding from funding for TNC, which the budget would assign to a “TNC Fund” run by the Dorm Affairs Chair. The amendment will be put to a final vote at tonight’s Senate meeting.

The board still took action on the budget, however. “Constitutionally we cannot pass a budget that is unconstitutional,” noted ASCMC President Aditya Pai ’13 at the meeting before leading the group in an “informal voice vote” in which it pledged to pass the budget if the Senate agreed to the constitutional amendment.

Both votes passed, but not without opposition. Executive Secretary Stephanie Haft ’15 read a statement from Class of 2013 President Clare Riva, who was not in attendance, in which Riva wrote “currently there is not enough money for TNCs. . . at $300 per TNC, the current budget would only allow for 16.” Riva also asked that Haft be able to vote in proxy for her on the budget, but Pai and other members of the Board agreed not to allow Haft to vote for Riva on the amendment, since Riva had not requested it in advance of the meeting.

Another restriction on spending included in the budget would prohibit any fund, including dorms, from spending more than 15% of its budget in the last month of the academic year unless the spending had been approved in advance.

Despite the reductions in dorm funding, the budget proposal would provide money to several new funds. It assigns $3,000 to a “venture fund” that would be used to provide startup capital to entrepreneurial activities on CMC’s campus, $1,500 to a “fund for the arts,” and $10,000 to a “rainy day fund.”

Pai described the goal of the arts fund as encouraging participation in art, music, theater, and dance in ways not currently covered by clubs, and said that the budget is “a reflection of our priorities and values.” Regarding the rainy day fund, ASCMC Chief Financial Officer Kevin Sullivan ’13 alluded to the losses incurred on the 2012 White Party and the 2011 LMFAO concert, saying that ASCMC’s past practice of not having funds set aside for unforeseen circumstances was “not very responsible.”

Issues not related to the budget were discussed as well at the meeting. Senate President Pro-Tempore Miles Lifson ’13 brought up the possibility of changing the restriction on social media use in ASCMC elections. Board members voiced disparate opinions on the issue, but Pai chose to table the discussion until the elections for Class of 2016 President and Dorm Affairs Chair are over. A discussion about event cleanup was also on the agenda, but this was postponed until next Sunday’s meeting.