Associated Students Finance Board allocated two-thirds of its spring budget at their first meeting of the quarter, giving the majority of the funds to cultural events and graduation ceremonies.

Board members spread $12,165 between 12 organizations, including the Pilipino Cultural Night Committee0, the Education Opportunity Program Asian Resource Center (ARC) and the Black Graduation Committee. The board is left with $6,706.30 for the remainder of the quarter, much of which will help fund various other culture weeks and graduation ceremonies, several board members said.

Finance Board debated throughout the meeting on how to fund these events fairly. Katie Joaquin, a former Finance Board member, told the board that last year’s practice of giving culture weeks $1,000 and ceremonies $500 as a set standard did not allow them to weigh individual circumstances and group needs.

Although they unanimously voted down such across-the-board funding, members’ views about differentiating between cultural events, weeks and months varied. Board member Emily Liu said giving a one-day event the same amount of money as a weeklong event would be irresponsible.

But Jeff Soriano, Pilipino Cultural Night coordinator and fourth-year psychology major, said board members should not consider cultural events stretched out across a week more worthy than one-night productions. His group will present a student-written, choreographed and performed play for their 14th annual culture night, entitled “Hindi Ako Susuko (I Will Not Surrender),” on Saturday, April 30 in Campbell Hall.

“The preparation and production doesn’t just happen in one day,” Soriano said. “It takes a year. … The playwriting happened over the summer. The Filipino dance team practices all year round. During the year they take their performance and use it at other events. … [Finance Board] didn’t take that into consideration.”

Soriano requested $3,000, but board members approved $700 for the cultural night.

In contrast, the ARC received $2,000 for its Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month celebrations – $500 less than they had originally requested. Throughout this coming May, ARC and various Asian American groups will sponsor panel discussions about race, workshops on subjects such as queer identity and an art show in the MultiCultural Center, said Jeffery Liang, an ARC intern.

“It’s important for Asian Pacific Islanders to be recognized at the national level for their accomplishments in American history and for the many issues that aren’t being addressed because of media [bias].”

Besides cultural events, Finance Board gave $400 to the Pilipino Graduation Committee and $600 to the Black Graduation Committee. Aseye Allah, Finance Board member, said the Black Graduation and other individualized ceremonies like Pilipino Graduation are important because they offer “more of a personal experience” to students.

Cultural graduation ceremonies are separate events held in addition to each academic department’s commencement.

A letter addressed to the board from the Pilipino Graduation Committee said, “Throughout the ceremony there will be cultural presentations, performance of the Pilipino and American national anthems, award presentations, guest speakers, individual expression from graduates and video presentations documenting student life at UCSB. Our main goal is to provide the graduates a more intimate, richer, culturally motivated graduation ceremony.”

Of the remaining groups that received funding, Vietnamese Student Association was granted $400 for its culture night and Black Student Union received $1,500 for its culture week. Finance Board also gave $2,000 to A.S. Women’s Commission for its Womyn of Color Conference, $1,500 to El Congreso for its Raza College Day and $900 to the Nikkei Student Union for its eighth annual basketball tournament. Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity received $700 for its 2005 Miss Black and Gold Pageant while $1,000 was also given to BSU for the American Black Coalition conference. Reel Loud was given $465 for its annual film festival, scheduled to begin May 28.

Finance Board typically gives funding to student groups who have already tried to raise money from other sources, such as the Chancellor’s office or Residence Halls Association, and asks that the groups only organize events that are open to all students and do not serve alcohol.