Projects Board allegedly violates USG Constitution with funding approval| Oct 20, 2013
The Projects Board allegedly violated the USG Constitution by approving a funding request for $1,800 for the Tango Club Tango Festival.
The Senate found the approved fund request while reviewing the USG budgetfrom July through September at its weekly meeting on Sunday evening. According to the USG Constitution, the Senate must approve funding requests by the Projects Board — which funds events and activities sponsored by student groups — that exceed $1,000.
The USG voted 17 in favor and six abstaining to bring representatives of the Projects Board to the USG’s next public meeting on Nov. 10 to explain what happened. Projects Board co-chair Jared Peterson ’14, who was not present at the meeting, told The Daily Princetonianthat the Projects Board had approved only $900 for the event and that the transfer record of $1,800 may be the result of an error.
Since the Projects Board hascommitted the same violation in the past, including twice last year, Andy Loo ’16, a substitute for U-Council chair Elan Kugelmass ’14, made a motion on his behalf to censure the Projects Board’s budget.
“This is a repeated problem,” academics committee chair Dillon Sharp ’14 added. “If somebody on my committee kept on screwing up on the same thing, they would be off of my committee.”
“That would be the Senate expressing our disapproval of their current spending practices, specifically this specific expenditure without coming to us for our approval, as they are required to do,” U-Councilor Zhan Okuda-Lim ’15, who seconded the motion, explained. “So we would give them a warning essentially saying, you didn’t come to us when you were supposed to.”
The motion to censure the budget failed with a vote of 10 opposed and 13 abstaining.
“We did not vote down the censure motion because we agree with what Projects Board did,” Okuda-Lim explained after the vote was made. “We just voted down with the rationale that was brought up by Paul [Riley ’15, a U-Councilor] that we want to hear from Projects Board first before we decide on whether to give a warning or not.”
Riley is also a member of Projects Board.
Peterson said that the Projects Board had only approved $900 for the Tango Club event. The Senate reviewed a list of fund transfers, rather than the budget the Projects Board had approved, according to Peterson.
"We don't actually manage the physical fund transfers ourselves. That's done by West College," Peterson said, explaining that he would need to speak to representatives from the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students to find out why $1,800 was transferred. Eileen Lee is the other co-chair of the Projects Board.
Peterson was also co-chair of the Projects Board last fall, when the board approved two funding requests over the $1,000 limit without USG pre-approval. In that case, the USG granted its approval for the funding after the fact, and no censure of any kind was issued to the Projects Board.
Also at the meeting, the USG discussed a pilot program called "Wintersession" that will start during the upcoming Intersession, through which students will be able to participate in enrichment programs. Student groups will be invited to apply to host classes, U-Councilor Katherine Clifton ’15 said.
“The idea is we want to make programming happen during the Intersession,” U-Councilor Laura Du ’14 said. Du said the program aims to take advantage of free time that students have and to provide students with formal and informal learning opportunities in order to create a stronger community on campus during the break.
Students would be able to participate in the program free of charge. The program’s provisional budget is approximately $5,200, which would cover marketing and publicity, instructor costs, the opening dinner and T-shirts. Their target for participation is about 100 to 200 students.
The USG also passed revisions to the Elections Handbook in a vote of 18 in favor, three opposed and two abstaining. The revisions will alter the current registration and campaigning schedule and will put a cap on the number of petitions a candidate can gather.
Twenty-nine students were also approved as new members of the Social Committee, University Student Life Committee, Treasury Committee and Ad-Hoc Transparency Committee at the meeting.
Correction: Due to editing errors, an earlier version of this article misspelled the surname of Andy Loo '16 and misstated U-Council Chair Elan Kugelmass's title. The 'Prince' regrets the errors.