Undergraduate Student Government held U-Council Chair elections and gave end-of-year updates during its final weekly meeting of the semester on Sunday.
First, Elizabeth Haile ’19 and Olivia Ott ’20 confirmed the reappointments of Honor Committee members Alan Wong ’21, Michael Wang ’21, Apria Pinkett ’20, Dina Kuttab ’21, Scott Aravena ’21, Wesley Johnson ’19, and Elise Wong ’19.
Afterward, Jonah Hyman ’20 presided over the U-Council Chair elections for candidates Ben Press ’20, Yousef Elzalabany ’20, and Rachel Hazan ’21. Press and Elzalabany were elected.
Hazan is a staff copy editor for the Daily Princetonian.
Next, Treasurer Alison Shim ’19 reported that the total money spent by USG, as of May 12, was $367,790.47, and the total spendable balance, as of May 12, was $113,252.81. Shim estimated that after the end-of-year activities such as Dean’s Date — which alone costs USG $7,000 to $10,000 — the total spendable balance will be approximately $80,000 to $90,000. This surplus is still significantly higher than the previous three years’ surpluses, which were approximately $40,000 to $50,000. Shim acknowledged that since these estimates exclude significant expenses that have not yet been processed, such as Dean's Date, the USG can make more conclusive comparisons to past surpluses once the end-of-the-year expenses are accounted for.
“I can’t confirm a precise reason [the surplus] is projected to be larger this year, when the large line items in the budget haven’t changed from my observation,” said Shim, “but I’m contacting the Director of Finance at ODUS to see if she has any more insight.”
She added that it is possible that, since the budget has been growing marginally every year, the marginal increases have accumulated visibly this year. The surplus will “roll over to next fall,” but details regarding allocation have not yet been confirmed, according to Shim.
However, USG President Rachel Yee ’19 explained that the remaining balance will most likely go toward office renovations. Addressing concerns from some members, Yee said that USG will not reduce its budget, which is built upon student dues, unless administration reduces those dues.
After Shim’s treasury update, Diego Negrón-Reichard ’18, project leader of the Financial Reform Team, presented final updates for both the Financial Reform Team and USG overall. The Financial Reform Team aims to strengthen student rights through student-led institutions. Updates included a 29 percent increase in USG funding for Projects Board and the new proposal for the Projects Board Charter.
Eliot Chen ’20 and Nicholas Fernandez ’18 summarized the key charter revisions, which included revising the 12-member requirement to a 12-member maximum and refining of the duties of general members.
The most contentious update a proposed revision to term lengths, which revised terms from renewable one-year terms to terms for the duration of members’ enrollment at the University, unless dismissed by the co-chairs. Members of USG expressed discomfort with making terms longer, and the section was amended to state that members will be able to serve one-year terms unless dismissed by co-chairs.
After concluding the updates, Negrón-Reichard added that USG needs to continue to increase inclusivity on campus and build its relationship with administration.
Yee closed the meeting with praises and goodbyes for the departing members, Olivia Grah ‘19, Nicholas Wu '19, Negrón-Reichard ’18, Pooja Patel ’18, and Miranda Rosen ’18.
Shim described Wuas the “one member that tried to bond us the most.”
“This has definitely been an emotional semester,” Yee said.