Letter to the Editor: USAC proposal creates gridlock, not oversight

8 Jul

Below is a submission to my alma mater’s (UCLA) newspaper, the Daily Bruin, of a student government position that I held the last 16 months of my undergraduate career.  I felt so strongly about proposed changes to it that I had to speak my mind about the matter.  I know most who read this won’t understand what I’m talking about, but it was incredibly invigorating to have the power of the pen, and hopefully I can parlay that into the future.

In response to Natalie Delgadillo’s Opinion article, “USAC must stop delaying action on oversight of contingency funding,” the assertion that “(t)he council often simply rubber-stamps the finance committee’s allocations” is misleading.

A diverse finance committee reads through each application, ensuring that funds are being spent in the most effective and efficient manner in accordance with the organization’s mission and with the prerogatives that Council sets. The finance committee chair then makes the necessary deliberations and analyses with the finance committee and transmits the reasons for those allocations to Council beforehand. Council can always ask follow-up questions during the Council meeting, if needed.

In addition to regular USAC and respective staff meetings, will the elected officials also be at finance committee retreats, conduct random audits of programs funded by the finance committee, and help out with the quarterly workshops conducted by the finance committee?

General Representative Lizzy Naameh’s position succinctly sums up my argument: “(S)he did not feel comfortable being a voting member of the committee because she does not have the same training or expertise as the current committee members.”

Council already has oversight over the finance committee with the power to remove the chair with a 2/3 vote, if necessary. If USAC really has a problem with the present system of contingency programming allocation, then they should implement a program of oversight, not obstruction.

Delgadillo proposes a system of more gridlock, not more oversight. If the bylaw changes include representation by elected officials, it will hinder the process that the finance committee goes through.

Ronald Arruejo
2011-2012 finance committee chair
2012 UCLA alumnus

I usually blog about politics, and I can tie this in (somewhat) to politics.  There are various ways in which we can influence government, and in this case it happens to be student government, the most local of politics.  I have talked a lot about our civic duty to vote, our responsibility to learn about the issues, and to do what is best for you and everyone around you in the political arena.  A person can singularly influence policies by donating money to a group or candidate, volunteering their time to canvass the local neighborhood, or phone banking.  In this instance, writing a letter to the editor of the newspaper which holds jurisdiction of the affected topic is what I did in this instance, and I urge all to do the same with their own local newspapers.

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