The Student Association gives student organizations thousands of dollars each year to fund on-campus events, but how it determines who gets what remains shrouded in mystery, and certain clubs appear to be favored over others.
Student Association Event Funding is designed to support registered student organization (RSO) events on campus. The funds are in addition to the clubs’ fixed budgets, as they are allowed to apply to receive amounts ranging from $100 to $7,500 for on-campus events.
The SAEF process begins when Student Association President and Chair of the SAEF committee Japneet Singh calls a meeting for SAEF deliberations. Before the meeting, SAEF applications are sent to all registered student organization (RSO) leaders. The five-page application lists the rules and regulations of SAEF funding, including an agreement “that SA may make additional stipulations/request changes to the event,” a requirement that the event have at least five co-sponsors, and a requirement that the SA logo appear on all advertising material.
RSO leaders must provide specifics about their event, name their collaborating partners on campus, describe their target population, and provide a “budget line” that best fits the event. The application asks for specifics on what the requested funding will be used for, such as refreshments and equipment, as well information about any contracts the organizations plan to enter into for the event.
However, the details about how the SAEF committee is run and how it decides who will receive funding remain a mystery. Requests by The Knight News for this information from SA President Japneet Singh, Ex-Officio SAEF member Judith Krinitz, and Dean of Student Affairs Dean Andrejack have gone unheeded, with Dean Andrejack referring us to the SAEF application as listing all the rules and regulations. Compared to the previous process for obtaining SAEF funding, the current process appears to lack monitoring by the QC faculty and administration.
Originally known as the Student Union Programming Committee, the committee was composed of “three student members selected by SA, the non-traditional chairperson, and the president of the College Union Program Board. The committee also included two students elected from the membership of the Congress of Club Presidents, two faculty or administrative members appointed by the president of the College, with the director of student life and the director of student development serving as ex-officio members. The Knight News could not find information regarding when the changes of SUPC to SAEF took place. All information about membership listed is from a SUPC application obtained by Jennifer Jarvis
Based on the February 5 SAEF meeting attended by The Knight News, we believe the committee is currently comprised of SA president Japneet Singh, vice president, Akila Wazeed, and non-traditional chairperson Karandeep Singh, with Judith Krinitz, Associate Director of Student Development and Leadership serving as an ex-offico member. SA Treasurer Ramneet Singh also sat in on the meeting. The Knight News could find no list of written guidelines or bylaws listing who the committee members should be. SA President Singh did not respond to The Knight News’ request for specifics about how the committee members are selected, what the meeting guidelines are, or how the committee determines who receives SAEF funds.
According to Dean Andrejack, SAEF money is a fund allocated by the Queens College Association Board, to the Student Union, which then re-directs the money to the SAEF committee. SAEF funds are separate from the SA’s budget. SA budget began around $120,000, and as of December 21 stood at $80,423.93 according to the QC/CUNY General Ledger Report.
The Knight News was unable to find any set criteria for how SAEF funds are to be distributed, as while club SAEF proposals for funding are public, decisions about what the committee directly funds each event is discussed behind closed doors among SAEF committee members. And there is no evidence that SAEF allocations follow CUNY’s Policy on Equal Opportunity and Non-Discrimination.
For the current semester SAEF has given $30,000 to distribute to various clubs. As of the Feb. 5 SAEF decisions, the Sikh Club will receive $5,000 for its “Bhangra Blowout,” the Alliance for Latin American Students’ will receive $4,000 for its “Latin Night,” and the Israel Student Association will receive $4,000
Last semester the Sikh Club and the Alliance for Latin American Students received the biggest SAEF grants, bringing their total allocations for the 2017-2018 school year to $12,500 and $11,000 respectively.
Meanwhile, the Guyanese Student Association and the Black Student Union, which each asked for $10,000 in SAEF funds, received only $3,500 and $2,000 respectively.
As of February 13, $1,400 remains in available SAEF funds. SAEF meetings are open to the public, but it’s unclear whether the actual decisions on which events it will fund are made publicly, or in private meetings of the committee members. Nor are the SAEF committee’s meeting dates listed on any SA sites.
QC students are encouraged to get involved with SAEF, and to learn more about which events it is funding. When The Knight News becomes aware of any future meetings, will we will post the details on our social media sites.