Associated Students Legislative Council opened the minutes of Monday’s Finance Board meeting at their own meeting last night and took back $3,500 they had previously allocated to the upcoming Student of Color Conference.
According to A.S. bylaws, the Finance Board is not allowed to distribute more than 10 percent of their quarterly unallocated budget to any one organization. However, the board’s October allocation of $21,500 to the SOCC represented about 12 percent of the board’s Fall unallocated budget. At last night’s meeting, Council members questioned the legality of Finance Board’s original allocation to the SOCC and eventually altered a Monday decision by the Board that funded the conference an additional $7,000.
Planned from Nov. 19 to 21, the event will host roughly 1,000 students from UCSB and other UC campuses for a series of workshops and presentations about issues related to race and ethnicity.
Organized by the Student Commission on Racial Equality, the conference anticipates about 250 participants from UCSB and around 700 visitors from UCSA-affiliated universities. Outside visitors will be charged between $20 and $25 to attend the event, while UCSB students may join in the conference free of charge. The conference has received funding from 13 A.S. entities this quarter, totaling to $47,084 at the conclusion of last night’s council meeting. However, prior to the start of the meeting, A.S. was funding the SOCC about $52,000.
According to Internal Vice President Jake Elwood, the SOCC budget asks for $57,700 in total, with just over $10,000 indicated to come from outside funds — leaving A.S. to pick up the other approximately $47,000.
Legislative councilmember Alfredo del Cid vehemently contested the council’s decision to reopen finance board’s minutes, calling the move a threat to the board’s autonomy.
“I think it’s ridiculous that this is happening, I really do,” del Cid said. “As a person of color, I feel scared to be at this table right now. Why are we coming in and saying ‘Oh, why don’t we just talk about what they thought and they decided?’ Why do we even have these groups, then?”
However, Finance Board Vice Chair Katie Lieberknecht, who attended the legislative meeting as an audience member, said the council has a duty to reconsider any decision they feel is merited a renewed look.
“I do want to say that it is a heated issue,” Liebernecht said. “We struggled with it. Every allocation that we send out does say ‘pending the approval of the legislative council.’ If it’s an important event and you want to look at it, you have the prerogative to. It’s your job.”
SOCC Co-Chair David Preciado said abysmal levels of diversity and tolerance at the University have called for the conference’s large-scale.
“I really want to stress the fact that this conference is really important,” Preciado said. “The realities of these students of color and the things that they have to deal with are the realities. There were hate crimes here and there were queer people committing suicide. There was a noose hung in San Diego. There are hate crimes happening on a continual basis — the other day I heard one of my residents call another one a ‘dirty Mexican.’ I know we’re concerned about money and everything but there’s a need for this conference. I’ll answer the questions and I’ll give you the numbers, but I hope that you don’t get caught up in that.”