Guest Commentary: ASLCC adviser responds to claims

 Barbara Delansky
Dean of Student Affairs

Iread with interest the article in The Torch last week regarding the perceived lack of transparency and lack of student control. I met with Council of Club reps several times, and have offered to meet in regard to questions and concerns about the Council of Clubs, and ASLCC budget whenever they needed more information or updates.

There is an interesting balance to supporting student autonomy, respecting their rights to conduct business, and then dealing with inaccurate assumptions because group members didn’t know, and/or didn’t understand their budget.

Here are some other points to consider:

1. The Titan Fencing Club was established last year, and has received funding for equipment and other resources to support the club from both ASLCC and the COC.

The statement in the article that “The funds have been maintained and controlled by our advisors. We have no idea where our money goes and where the money doesn’t go,” is false.

2. The Council, and ASLCC, need staff support to do the following: schedule events on campus, arrange for payment and purchase of supplies, arrange for travel to events and trainings, monitor individual club budgets, track petty cash etc. In short, without staff support the clubs would not be able to function.

3. The current funding structure, including staffing, in the COC and in ASLCC, was established by students in those groups approximately 12 years ago. ASLCC previously funded 2 full time staff, and in order to be “good stewards” of student money, they reduced those expenditures to .25 FTE for each group. The staff person assigned to the Council and to ASLCC works on their behalf and at their direction in compliance with existing policies and procedures.

4. Staff do not control student funds, ASLCC and the Council have established by-laws and specific decision processes for distribution of those funds, as do other student fee funded groups like BSU, NASA, MEChA, GSA and APISU. My role as advisor, and staff assigned to assist student groups, is to work with the students to ensure that campus policies are followed but the decision of how the funds are spent, and the establishment and approval of the budget is up to the groups.

5. My suggestion to ASLCC in regard to any adjustments to the student fee included several options: no increase, increase for ASLCC operations and food pantry, increase for other groups based on the decisions of the group. I raised the issue so that ASLCC could have any proposed fee change on the Board agenda in time for elections, if they chose to do so. To say that I advised them to raise the fee, and that was their only option is incorrect.

6. The “office supply” budget heading is a generic heading that is used campus wide and includes, among other things, program support to clubs like the Titan Fencing Club. Basic budget information, as well as budget updates are posted on the OrgSync portals several times throughout the term, or when requested.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or need additional information.

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