USG displays leniency in funding

The funding board discusses proposals with Jonathan at the Feb. 3 meeting. (Erming Gao/Daily Campus)

Undergraduate Student Government granted over $6,000 in funding for three student groups at a Senate meeting Wednesday night. The funded groups included Honors in STEM, UConn Society of Women Engineers and UConn Boxing.

Although the requests were expensive, senators generally believed their funding was necessary. All groups applying for funding were met with extenuating circumstances, according to deputy speaker George Wang.

Honors in STEM did not exist until this semester. They were unable to go through the normal funding process and an officer for the UConn Society of Women Engineers went on unexpected medical leave.

UConn Boxing garnered the most attention during the meeting. Inaccurate financial information about the club was submitted due to officer inexperience. The transfer of financial duties between officers exacerbated the situation. The club only became an official competitive team this year, which added a new set of financial obligations, according to the presented legislation.

“There’s no reason to fault them,” Rainbow Center senator Tyler Lemoine said. “I’ve been through situations where there’s no way to tell how to move from one situation to another.”

UConn Boxing looked to numerous other sources of covering finances before turning to legislative funding, according to Wang.

McMahon senator Stephanie Sponzo was regretful that internal failures prevented UConn Boxing from gathering the necessary funds, but sympathized with the club.

“I think I will vote yes only because USG has had the conversation about funding,” Sponzo said. “Either we give them all the money, or we give them no money and they have no coach.”

Sponzo referred to last week’s USG caucus in justifying her voting decision. USG’s approach to defining “funding emergencies” and granting funds was closely examined during the caucus.

Wang believes that last week’s caucus and a forum held on Friday influenced decision-making during the formal Senate meeting.

Senators who were more readily opposed to granting legislative funding in the past departed from normal voting patterns, said Bennett Cognato, CLAS senator and Daily Campus staff columnist.

“I hope from this point forward we are going to be fair and this lenient,” Cognato said. “Legislative funding is necessary for these groups to exist.”

Legislative funding will be a point of contention in the coming weeks, but USG is not rushing its assessment, Wang said. Senators have displayed increased generosity over funding, but Wang is reluctant to call it a trend. 

 “It’s going to be a continuous discussion,” Wang said. “Discussion is key, communication is key.”


Stone Li is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at stone.li@uconn.edu.