Student Senate Fixes Problems with Projects’ Funding
Problems with University Student Senate funding and administrative hiccups have prompted senators to streamline the inner workings and communication within the student senate.
A new financing system and poor communication left some students awaiting the money allotted for their events, even though some were approved at least two months ago. The funding issues were recently cleared up, but they highlighted the need for internal improvement.
Various senators will meet with the USS treasurer and Student Services Financial Analyst Karen Conner-Wilson this week.
Funds approved in February for various New School for Social Research conferences had not yet materialized by early April and around mid-March $1200 disappeared from the philosophy department’s budget.
The money intended for a philosophy conference was withdrawn from the department’s budget rather than deposited. Conner-Wilson maintained it was an error that was quickly fixed and a credit of $2,400 was deposited, though at USS meetings on April 6 and 12 details were unclear.
Chris Crews, NSSR senator, said panels such as the “Radical Democracy Conference” and “Historical Materialism,” approved in mid-February for $1,400 and $5,000 respectively, had yet to see their money as of April 6. Some conferences, including “Radical Democracy,” had already taken place. Via email Crews said that as of April 16, “It appears that all of the events at NSSR have now been taken care of between Student Services and the individual departments of NSSR.”
Senators Melissa Holmes, of Milano, and Sean Elias, of Drama, explained that funding issues lie with errors in communication and not with any one party. The USS itself is relatively new and the current issues most likely lie with an adaptation to new ways of funding. According to the notes from the April 6 USS meeting, submitted by USS Secretary Kim Hurley, “Last year, OSDA handled processing when we gave money. This year, [USS treasurer] Nicole [Park] and [Conner-Wilson] agreed to give money to a contact person in a division (e.g. academic affairs person at NSSR).”
At their upcoming meeting with Conner-Wilson the USS will focus on their internal communication to ensure students get their money. Poor communication between senators and administrators could stall reimbursements from the university to students.
This year is the first that USS gained the ability to fund student groups and events not officially recognized by the office of student development and activities. While groups recognized by OSDA only get a starting budget of $300, going through USS could result in getting much more money. Startup groups and events run by and for New School students now have an excellent chance of getting funding for things like catering and space rentals.
Along with developing a comprehensive online proposal form, the USS is simplifying their financial processes as their elections approach on April 25.