The Associated Students Finance Board began Spring Quarter by distributing $38,433 among five organizations and setting aside $88,000 for next year’s budget reserves.

The board fully funded each of the five groups – the Lion Dance Team, A.S. Academic Affairs Board, African Black Coalition, El Congreso and the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. Additionally, the board placed $88,000 of this quarter’s unallocated funds into the reserves for the 2007-2008 budget, in accordance with the board’s procedures.

The African Black Coalition requested and received $21,656.44 to fund the ABC Conference. The UC-wide conference, slated for April 27 to 29, will feature various workshops and speakers.

ABC Co-Chair Britney Foster said the event promotes diversity within the UC system.

“This is the pivotal year,” Foster, a fourth-year sociology major, said. “We’re going to have the most students at the conference ever.”

Board members briefly discussed the request, touching on the issue of funding cultural events.

“It’s basically advertising only for black students,” board member Anthony Day said.

However, several members objected to that view.

“They target to specific groups because they’re here to provide a safe space,” board member Chaz Whatley said. “I wouldn’t feel comfortable talking about my black issues with 10 other white people in that room. If you’re gay, you wouldn’t feel comfortable talking if some homophobe was sitting in the room with you.”

Finance Board Chair Nick Szamet noted the board’s commitment to funding cultural and ethnic groups, citing that approximately $349,000 of the board’s allocations for the year has gone to such organizations. He also said all finance board-funded events are open to all students.

“It’s targeted to a specific community,” Szamet said. “But it’s not specifically for them.”

The board fully funded the request with consent.

Board members also fully funded El Congreso’s Annual Raza College Day outreach program on April 21. The money will provide entertainment, speakers, and t-shirts for participants.

“It’s really a positive thing for incoming students, as well as for current ones to make that bridge and connect with the community,” Raza representative Michelle Soto said.

The board passed the request with consent.

At the end of the meeting, Szamet announced a future meeting to review the board’s financial guidelines for the upcoming academic year.

“We need to change,” Szamet said. “We’re running ambiguously off of policies and procedures that don’t really fit.”