The Associated Students Finance Board allocated $64,543.20 at last night’s meeting among 15 organizations, including a student group that some members alleged was too exclusive.
During a three and a half hour meeting, board members fully funded seven of the 15 groups, and partially funded the remaining organizations. Among the groups receiving funding were the Black Pioneers Renaissance Organization and the A.S. Environmental Affairs Board.
After last night’s allocations, the board has $84,369.40 to distribute for the remainder of the quarter.
The allocation for BPRO’s annual Women of Color Appreciation ceremony sparked controversy among board members, many of whom questioned the event’s openness to the community. The event, a cruise on May 3 in Santa Barbara Harbor, will consist of an awards ceremony, dinner and performances.
Several board members voiced concerns, as the event organizers initially said it would only be open to women – and 15 males associated with BPRO – because of space constraints.
“If you identify as a woman of color, you can come,” fourth-year political science major Jason Parnell said. “It can mean anything – honestly there is no definition of women of color.”
According to the board’s policies and procedures, funding can only be given to events open to the entire campus community, regardless of race or gender.
“It’s directly stated that you can’t fund something that’s going to exclude people,” Finance Board Chair Nick Szamet said. “Fundamentally, this is going to exclude people based on their gender.”
Board member Scarlet Chan said that even if the event were open to males, she did not believe they would attend.
“Why would a white person – and especially a male – go to an appreciation of honoring these women?” Chan said.
Meanwhile, some members said they wanted to focus on the event’s space issue, not the possible attendees.
“This is not an organization that wants to exclude men from appreciating women of color,” board member Raymond Meza said. “They don’t want to be exclusive, they just don’t have the space.”
After more discussion, the board allocated $5,025 with the condition that the organization searches for a larger venue to accommodate more students. The board voted for this funding with 5 in favor, 2 against and 2 abstaining.
Additionally, the board allocated $4,800 to EAB for its summer music festival, slated for sometime in July, as well as $1,000 for 20 of its members or students at large to attend a sustainability conference.
Advisor Brian O’Donnell said EAB currently has $50,000 in its budget and receives money from a lock-in fee, but EAB co-chair Alessandra Baer said those funds are already planned for events including a tree planting and production of an informational video.
Baer said the summer celebration follows in the tradition of EAB’s annually hosted Earth Day Festival, which hundreds of revelers enjoy each Spring Quarter in Anisq’ Oyo’ Park.
“We had such a successful event,” Baer said. “We are looking forward to expanding that and creating a summer music festival just promoting the fact that everyday is Earth Day.”
The board approved $5,800 total for both the conference and the festival with consent.