ROHAN ARORA, Managing Editor—Money. It makes the world go round, and it is how co-curricular clubs fund their myriad activities that make Denison a vibrant campus.
The spring semester of the school year is filled with treasurers stressing about fiscal planning for seemingly gargantuan budgets that make the students’ look small in comparison.
The process has been the source of much tension on campus in recent years for being unclear. Last year, this controversy came to a head when a few members of the finance committee were criticized for comments perceived as racist regarding withholding funding from certain cultural organizations on campus.
Spurred by this, Song Huang ‘22, DCGA finance committee chair, has proposed a comprehensive list of changes which he hopes will show that the finance committee is “working hard to regain the trust of students” and intending to deeply involve students in the budgeting process.
Huang hopes that the proposed changes will make the budgeting process more easy to follow for students who are looking to take an active role in their organization’s finances.
Specifically, Huang stated that his resolution, currently on the DCGA floor, aims to amend six rules already in the funding guidelines, as well as adding three entirely new rules.
Huang emphasizes the changes centered around the appeal process as being the most notable, however.
Additionally, he pointed out specific rules which were changed for certain reasons, such as his proposal to amend Rule 23, with the intention of increasing the accountability of committee members and increasing the roles and responsibility of organization finance liaisons, and Rule 13, with the intention of removing previous restrictions against granting funding to “DIY” items at events, stipulating that this would now be considered if the items were deemed as “vital to cultural appreciation.”
Other rule changes are simply intended to make the budget request process easier.
For example, not necessarily requiring an in-depth line-item expenditure list and considering funding lump-sum requests for student organizations’ events.
The rules Huang is adding would require a two-thirds majority for an item/expenditure to be funded, add the role of a minute keeper with the purpose of keeping better records and set forth guidelines for organizations requesting printing budgets.
Huang specified these changes as further being based out of prior difficulties and inconsistencies.
“The rules itself are just there to provide baseline on how the finance committee should operate,” he said.
“I was a member in the finance committee last year, and I clearly recall where the committee struggled to decide whether to fund an item that is critical to the function of the event, but our funding guideline implies differently. And I hope this provides students with some insight on why changes are needed.”
Huang went further to explain that these changes and additions were not spur of the moment, and were very centrally focused around the improvement of the studnet body’s Denison experience as a whole.
“The focus is certainly on student input,” he said. “Before the official presentation of the Resolution, DCGA Senate has engaged in at least three sessions about how we should improve our funding guideline since early November last year and this Resolution is a collection of that effort. The student body contributed to this change.”
Huang also further emphasized that these proposals are all in an effort to increase student input in the budgeting process, and encourages students with questions to read the resolution and reach out to the DCGA with questions, concerns or input.