Council debates funding cap for independently financed MAs
The Arts and Science Federation of Associations (ASFA) introduced and debated its 2017-2018 budget at a special meeting on Thursday, June 29.
Francesco Valente, the interim vice-president of finance, projected a total income of $585,000 for the 2017-2018 academic year: $475,000 from ASFA’s fee levy, and $110,000 from other sources. After expenses, this will leave ASFA with a $395 surplus.
The most substantial difference in this year’s budget is the reduction of the Social Committee budget from $25,800 to $14,750. Last year, $8,000 was set aside for the ball ASFA hosts for graduating students. However, since the event wasn’t held in 2017, Valente chose not to dedicate funds to it.
According to Valente, “If the VP social wants to plan a grad ball this year, the funding will come from social initiatives, leftover from other social events or special project funding/external funding.”
The council also moved to redistribute $1,000 from the Social Committee pub nights budget, and another $1,500 from the External Committee budget, to the Advocacy Committee, bringing Advocacy’s total budget to $4,700. The Advocacy Committee is mainly responsible for organizing and financing conferences related to social justice issues, including issues of gender and race.
Chris Czich, the interim vice-president of social affairs, argued that a reduced budget would severely affect the success of ASFA’s pub nights. However, ASFA President Julia Sutera Sardo said the redistribution was justified since the Advocacy Committee received a smaller budget than last year — $2,200 compared to last year’s $4,200.
A further motion to free up $2,000 from the Social Initiatives budget to use for other initiatives failed.
Liberal arts councillor asks for more transparency
The council also debated a motion, introduced by Liberal Arts Councillor Robert Young, requiring all member associations (MA) with an independent fee levy to disclose all their financial statements dating back at least three years in order to gain funding from ASFA.
Under this motion, ASFA would distribute funding to its MAs based on their independent funding. The maximum funding a MA would be granted is enough to bring its total income to $20,000. Any MA receiving an independent income of more than $20,000 would not be eligible for ASFA funding.
According to Young, the purpose of the funding cap proposal is to free up money for smaller MAs that don’t have external sources of income by redirecting funds from wealthier MAs. He gave the example of the Political Science Students’ Association (PSSA), which introduced its own independent fee levy in the fall of 2016. According to PSSA President Farrah-Lilia Kerkadi, this fee levy alone brings in between $30,000 and $50,000 per semester.
The motion is also intended to encourage financial transparency from independently financed MAs. “The fact that we haven’t had terms of disclosure on finances since day one is 12 kinds of dodgy,” Young said.
An amendment was introduced by Sutera Sardo, which Young then moved to split into two parts:
- Sponsorship money and revenue from events would not be considered income when evaluating how much funding a MA would receive from ASFA
- To lower the funding cap from $20,000 to $18,000.
The first motion passed; the second was tabled until a later date, effectively tabling Young’s original motion.
Even if the motion passes, MAs would still be allowed to request special project funding, according to Sutera Sardo. In addition, MAs would still receive a budget for certain purposes, including elections and office phone bills, regardless of their independent income.
The first ASFA meeting of the upcoming academic year will take place on Sept. 21.
Archive graphic by Florence Y.