The Student Finance Board (SFB) unanimously approved $5,094 request from the Black Student Union (BSU) to bring African dance troupe Step Africa to the College at last week�s meeting.
BSU wanted to bring Step Africa to the College instead of holding its annual Cultural Day, which would feature more events. However, concerns about an exclusive 112-person banquet and of altering the format of Cultural Day caused SFB to table the request for Step Africa at SFB�s Sept. 15 meeting.
Paul Harris, BSU�s trustee, presented a new, separate request for $10,074 which included Step Africa�s $4,000 performance fee, $792 for hotel rooms for the group and other costs associated with the performance. But it also included a $4,875 dessert reception for 500 people, of which SFB was immediately skeptical.
�The program is more valuable than the banquet,� Harris said. �If the board is not comfortable with the cost for the banquet, we�re willing to sacrifice that.�
And that�s just what the board did, immediately rejecting the banquet�s total cost.
�What is (Conference and Meeting Services) thinking?� Craig Gross, SFB chairperson, asked in disbelief, looking at the $9.75 a person quote for the reception.
There was also discussion about the $99 per-night cost for rooming, as other organizations had been able to secure lower rates for their guests through the Red Roof Inn. BSU proposed putting up Step Africa at the Marriott in Trenton.
Gross said he would explore negotiating a flat rate for hotel rooms with an area hotel so that SFB could set a policy on how much it is willing to pay for a room. But, Gross said, that shouldn�t be held against BSU, who got three quotes for hotels, as SFB policy requires.
SFB also cut publicity from the event, as BSU was given publicity funds for Cultural Day as a whole in a previous request.
SFB also considered requests from the International Studies Club to receive a new club budget and to attend a model United Nations conference at the University of Pennsylvania.
�We have to keep things small-scale since we�re a new club,� Aileen McCandless, the club�s president, explained.
While the $78 request for the club budget passed unanimously, the $2,686 request to attend the conference was more contentious. The organization instead received $1,306, which passed, 10-2-1.
�I think it�s a worthwhile request, but we only have $11,000 left (in the conference request line),� Matthew Civiletti, vice president of administration and finance, said.
�They have funded half of the request and this is their thing,� Rachel Levy, senior representative, replied. �They are spending $100 per person.�
While the club was able to fund half of the cost of the conference through outside sources, including $600 from the Political Science department, this suggestion passed the motion.
Bill Carroll, director of finance, suggested that the personal contribution be raised to $160 per person.
Cheonette Petion, director of external relations, expressed skepticism that the club would bring anything back to the College.
Kyle Brownlie, junior representative, who would attend the conference himself, replied that Model U.N. is more like a debate tournament than a conference with workshops and seminars.
Carroll�s suggestion was adopted and a motion for $1,306 passed, 10-2-1.
The Ultimate Frisbee Club received $435 as a new club budget. The request included field costs for three scrimmages at the College, two away tournament entry fees and $15 for publicity.
In addition, the Tae Kwan Do Club received $40 to take two instructors who will be presenting a weapons class to the club out to dinner. While SFB generally eliminated appreciation dinners for clubs, Gross explained the money for dinner was simply in lieu of payment for the two.
Julia Pratt, director of communications, explained the schedule for the Loop Bus, which is funded by SFB. The �Mall Loop� runs along Route 1 on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday evenings from 7 p.m. to 12 a.m.
The �Local Loop� which runs to local businesses such as ShopRite, runs Saturday only, 6 p.m. to 12 a.m.
While the bus is supposed to make stops every hour, she said students have complained that the bus has not arrived on schedule.
Pratt asked for members to ride the bus at least once this semester to judge how well the bus works.
Gross also announced that Ermal Bojdani, freshman representative, had offered his resignation due to a lack of time.