During the public forum portion of last night’s Associated Students Senate meeting, several members of various student government organizations stood in opposition to a bill passed last week that would place restrictions on their ability to purchase food with A.S. money.
The bill, intended to cut extraneous spending and ensure A.S. funds benefit the bulk of the student body rather than a select few, seeks to limit entities to a budget of no more than $500 for food each quarter. It also includes several exceptions, such as special events.
Specifically, the authors of the bill hope to discourage extravagant consumption of expensive food at board, committee and commission meetings, as they feel that money could be better spent fulfilling that group’s purpose.
Issues surrounding the measure’s passage included accusations of classism, worries that certain groups may not be able to carry out specific functions that revolve around food and arguments that food at meetings is a primary method of attracting new members.
Third-year sociology major Navkiran Kaur said she feels the bill alienates many low-income students who depend on meals provided by A.S. organizations.
Kaitlyn Christianson, co-chair of the Community Affairs Board, asserted that free food at meetings was a key factor in her choice to become involved in local affairs and warned that C.A.B. would not be able to carry out some of its key missions, such as providing food for the homeless, with such a restricted budget.
As of press time, senators had not yet discussed the issue. Visit dailynexus.com tomorrow for a full recap of the meeting.
Photo by John Clow / Daily Nexus
A version of this story appeared on page 5 of Thursday, January 30, 2014’s print edition of the Daily Nexus.
these senators have the right idea. why is my money going to feed people whose work i never see? this shouldnt even be a thing
Wait…don’t we fund a Food Bank to help serve students in need? That’s that particular groups mission right? I see them tabling outside the UCEN all the time. Why do people need to spend more money on food at their club meetings?
Are they cutting the Food Banks budget?
No the food bank has a dedicated lock-in fee that is annual.
Excellent point, Jack. I am in full support of this regulation (actually in support of the total ban of food at regular meetings).
Jonathan, AS President
With the wording of the bill, the worry was that it actually stipulated that BCCs could not spent more than $500 on food. However, myself and almost the entire Senate expressed how that was never our goal and that the bill was meant purely to limit food expenditures at meetings, which we felt was an inefficient usage of student funds. If students are coming to BCC meetings for food, then that’s a sign we need to expand AS Food Bank rather than spend budgets on dinner.
I don’t believe money should be used for food to attract members. Navkiran is wrong in saying that this bill alienates low income students. As a low-income student, I attend BCCs meeting for shared interests and to contribute to my community, not for meals. Anyone attending a meeting for the purpose of a meal is attending for the wrong reasons. There are other services provided for such a need.