By Roderick Macicoh
During its weekly meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 24, the Student Finance Board (SFB) approved funding for several upcoming events, but also exercised a great deal of caution when it came to other proposed events.
The College’s Swing Dance Club was the first to present a proposal. Representatives requested funding for the club’s Masquerade Ball to feature a live performance by Chelsea Reed and the Fairweather Five.
As stated in the Swing Dance Club’s proposal, the event is “intended to involve TCNJ students in the fun and exciting activity of swing dancing, while also providing a fun and inviting atmosphere for non-dancers.”
The board unanimously voted to fully fund the event in the amount of $1,498.13 in order to cover the price of the band, decorations and refreshments. The event is scheduled to take place on Friday, April 22, from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. in the Allen Hall Main Lounge.
The Haitian Student Association then requested funding for the band booking fee and decorations for its event, Ambiance, after these requests were tabled during last week’s meeting.
According to the request form, the band is essential for the authenticity of the event, as “music has always been the one binding aspect of the Haitian culture and has allowed (that culture) to persevere in hard times. It is in our music that one will find our history and a sense of who we are as a people… Music and the Haitian experience are intertwined (and) to remove the band is to diminish from the learning and the culture.”
When the time came to vote, the requested $7,047.68, which will pay for the band and decorations, was granted. The event is scheduled for the evening of Saturday, March 5, from 8:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. in the Decker Social Space.
Members of Chabad then requested funding for a Passover Seder, co-sponsored by Hillel and the Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity.
This event is designed “to engage the campus community in a traditional Jewish experience as well as provide and educational event that will expose students to a culture other than their own,” according to the request form. Specifically, “Students will get to see what a traditional Passover Seder looks like, tastes like and sounds like, through a vast array of songs, foods and prayers.”
Operations Director Tom Barr suggested that the board table the event so that Chabad could break down the expenses further. The SFB manual states that “any requests for food in an amount over $250.00 should include at least two quotes,” and the board decided that Chabad’s request for $2,200 worth of food was not enumerated clearly enough. Executive Director Brandon Klein agreed, as did the majority of the board. Consequently, the event was tabled.
Friendship and Unity for Special Education (FUSE) requested funding for an event called “‘Oh, You Needed Me to Pay Attention?’ Classroom Perspective from a Deceptively Remarkable Student,” an appearance by guest speaker David Finch.
Finch, the author of “The Journal of Best Practices,” a New York Times bestseller, was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome as an adult in 2008. The event is designed to allow “education majors, professors or people interested in working with students with disabilities to hear from an adult diagnosed with Asperger’s about his experiences in the classroom,” according to the request form.
Finch requested $4,690 for his visit (an amount he implied was negotiable), to cover the cost of his flight, hotel, car rental and $4,000 appearance fee.
The School of Education had come to FUSE with the idea for the event, already having set the time and place. FUSE had agreed to co-sponsor, because without the involvement of a student organization, there would have been no chance of securing Student Activity Fee (SAF) funding.
The board decided that because the idea for the event was first conceived by the School of Education, and not by FUSE itself, it could not be funded. Doing so could have set a potentially expensive precedent of funding out-of-classroom experiences.
The board voted to table the request until FUSE found less expensive options for a guest speaker, so the visit would be a FUSE event rather than a School of Education event.
The Mixed Signals proposed its annual Rather Outrageous Comedy Kickout (ROCK). According to the request form, the event is intended “to provide a free comedy event for the student body and local community through which they will be able to watch alumni improv troupes as well as improvisational comedy on a professional level. This not only serves as entertainment, but also as a celebration of the art of improv comedy and support of a local troupe.”
In total, the group requested $4,350.
Because The Mixed Signals had not submitted a base budget and was therefore not assigned an SFB liaison, the group is currently not recognized by the board. This meant that All College Theater would have to fund the event with The Mixed Signals as a co-sponsor.
On these grounds, Klein requested that the event be tabled, and it was. When The Mixed Signals turns in the proper paperwork, it will be allowed to apply for its own funding.
PRISM requested funding for “History of Transgender Identities and Social Movements from the Late 19th through early 21st Centuries,” presented by Susan Stryker.
“Stryker is an associate professor of Women’s and Gender Studies and director of the Institute of LGBT Studies at the University of Arizona,” according to the request form. In all, the organization requested $2,000.
In a situation similar to the preceding FUSE proposal, PRISM had no part in the planning of the event, and the board saw the Women’s and Gender Studies Department as using PRISM to secure funding.
The board discussed the issue at length, and the board seemed to agree with Barr when he said “the core concept is that PRISM should be coming up with their own event.”
The board voted on a motion to zero fund, which passed.
At this point in the meeting, the board had rejected funding (either by tabling or zero funding) for four events and granted funding to only two. Due to this unusual paucity of funds granted, Klein addressed the board to assure the members that they were wise to exercise such caution.
“It’s our due diligence to make sure the funds are distributed in the best interest of the students, and not allocated irresponsibly,” he said.
The final order of business was the proposal of the Alternative Break Club’s (ABC) Mardi Gras Masquerade, co-sponsored by the Swing Dance Club. ABC is a volunteer service organization that travels to New Orleans during summer, winter and spring breaks to help in the Hurricane Katrina recovery. The event is intended to “bring New Orleans culture to (the College), treating students to authentic Cajun meals, music and dancing… (but also to) help show that New Orleans and the surrounding areas are still greatly affected by Katrina,” according to the request form.
The board passed a motion to fund every component of the proposal, with the exception of $404 for CustomInk T-shirts that ABC had requested, as they were deemed an unnecessary expense by the board. By this motion, $5,696.89, which will pay for tableware, food and decorations, was granted.
The event is scheduled to be held on Wednesday, April 6, at 8 p.m. in the Brower Student Center.
*Even though SFB agrees to finance certain events, there is no guarantee these events will take place. The approval only makes the funds available.