General disapproval of ASWC funding

Leandro Fefer's picture

ASWC, funding, Issue 21, Leandro Fefer, News - By Leandro Fefer on Thursday, March 8, 2012 - 05:42

After the recent kerfuffle about the Associated Students of Whittier College’s (ASWC) Senate lack of funds and then the discovery that those funds where in fact still available, there has been greater speculation amongst Whittier College students as to where Senate funds are allocated. In a recent online survey 62 percent of Whittier College students said they disapproved or strongly disapproved of the amount of money that ASWC has recently allocated to dances; i.e. $17,284 for two dances this semester. Only 28 percent approved or strongly approved of the funding decision.

Sophomore Angela St. Pierre is a student who disapproves of the amount of money being spent on the dances. “That’s ridiculous,” St. Pierre said. “That’s a lot of money to spend and if you look around at campus there are a lot of improvements to be made. Students are just going to show up wasted to a dance and then forget about it.”

Junior Kelcey Kitzmiller-Kral agrees with St. Pierre’s statements and said that the dances should cost no more than $20. “Hard times call for creative measures, ” Kitzmiller-Kral said.

In the defense of the Senate’s budgetary decision-making, ASWC President sophomore Duncan Ketel restated a comment he made for last week’s issue of the Quaker Campus. “We try to fund as many events as possible,” Ketel said. “And funding is first come first serve.” In defense of dances in particular, Ketel also said that dances are a cultural unifier and that social events like this bring the campus together. “That’s a part that gets easily overlooked,” Ketel said.

Ketel also gave some reasons for the high cost of dances that many students may overlook. The cost of dances covers the D.J., the venue, decorations and Campus Safety, which is pricey.

These costs seem very high when compared to bringing in a speaker, which could cost $350 for an honorarium and small dinner reception.

While explaining the recent spending, Ketel did not ignore the student feedback that this survey has created. “It’s good to have feedback,” Ketel said. According to Ketel, in Senate there are currently informal discussions about putting a cap on funding for social events or limiting the number of expensive social events that a single club or society could get funding for.

Most importantly, Ketel explains that any club can get funding from Senate and anyone can create a club as long as the club is open to all students. “We try to fund as many clubs as possible,” Ketel said. “Recently we approved funding for new bike racks for the Environmental Club as well as Brain Week for the Psych Club.”

For students upset about how Senate money is spent, Ketel advises them to join or create clubs so that they can have a say in where the money goes.

This last statement was in response to the 73.4 percent of the students from the survey that said they wanted more funds to be spent on academic events and campus improvements. Ketel suggests a campus improvement club that could use Senate money to fund a solution to problems students have in their dorms and around campus.

Ketel pointed out that Senate serves the student body by giving money to students who ask for it.

He also stated that the student body need only form clubs that will accommodate their interests and Senate funding is just as available to them as it is to societies who create dances.