It’s that time of year, the time when young men and women turn to love, flights of fancy and yet another GUSA reform. This time the winds of change have blown less noticeably than the failed efforts of just two years ago.

And just as they have in the past, these reform efforts are directed at the fast-approaching GUSA presidential election. Quietly this time, some of yesteryear’s seasoned revolutionaries, now the consummate GUSA insiders, have been busy.

Late last semester, GUSA and Student Activities Commission leaders began to unveil the “finance board” proposal, the latest reform plan that is as likely to get off the ground as any before it, principally because it needs university approval to fly, if it doesn’t fall from its massive weight.

No longer targeting the GUSA they now run, the reformers have taken aim at all four activities funding boards created 10 years ago, plus the Georgetown Program Board’s funds, seeking to consolidate the alphabet-soup appropriators of our tuition money into one large uber-bureaucracy.

The “all-inclusive” new board would “combine all of the budgeting boards into one board “responsible for the budgeting process.” It would consist of 17 members, likely insiders themselves, and six committees, each committee reflecting some of the current splintering of student organizations.

Oddly enough though, community service organizations are thrown in with the political clubs. If this sounds like SAC made larger, it’s because it is SAC made larger.

The reform proposal has two good features: It recognizes the undemocratic aspects of current SAC funding and the need to remove domineering administrators from their roles as members and even chairpersons of the activities funding boards. “Faculty voices can be heard through a nonvoting ex-officio seat and each board could work similar to that of SAC,” state the proponents. The funding process will be “completely student-run.” But this is where wisdom ends.

Each spring, the finance board would receive “petitions” from club leaders and allocate funds and office space. Remarkably, for club leaders the process looks much the same but is much more onerous. It is hard to imagine how students would design a process even more Byzantine than the current one.

While claiming to “streamline the budgeting process” and grant “more autonomy to student organizations,” the finance board would, in fact, review and approve club budgets and thereafter continue to supervise funding recipients. Rather than being “totally independent” after funding, “the finance board may recommend stipulations regarding an organization’s use of student funds and may recommend revoking that organization’s allocation if the stipulations are not adhered to.”

Clubs may also be sanctioned not just for inappropriate use of funds but for merely not following their own budget.

The proposal also contradicts itself. While including a provision that the GUSA Assembly be limited to “an up or down vote” as a check on the powers of the Finance Board, another section provides that Board decisions may be appealed to both the assembly and to the university’s vice president for student affairs.

The assembly may also “make across-the-board cuts through a category or group of categories as defined under the guidelines handed down by the University.” The proposal also describes an appeals process that would baffle David Boies, complete with complex deadlines, minutely detailed penalties, forfeitures and Draconian sanctions.

But nothing could better prove that GUSA-SAC activists are out of touch with the realities of club leaders than the thousand-word explanation of how 21-year-olds will replace paid bureaucrats to determine whether clubs are eligible for funding. Among other things, clubs will have to submit a summary of planned activities, a complete inventory of equipment and must “notify the Student Association of any changes in the information on file, such as new officers.” Organizations must also submit to the scrutiny of GUSA Assembly representatives and members of the community as to their purpose.

Unbelievably, this qualification process must be renewed annually. And “an objection to an organization’s qualification [for benefits] may occur at any time,” resulting in suspension of benefits and a hearing that could last several days. Hearings would be an adversarial process in which club leaders must submit written statements akin to a trial.

Most telling of the bureaucratic blinders of the reformers is that while appeals for an unsatisfactory allocation amount may be appealed all the way to the vice president for students affairs, a decision of the GUSA-finance board denying funding would be final.

There is no doubt that GUSA’s perennial reformers are great people and that they have the best of intentions. They want to fix something that’s evidently broken and have sacrificed good time for the benefit of all of us. But as they say back home in Texas “if you’re trying to get out of a hole, the first thing you do is stop digging.”

They are trying to fix a poorly designed student government and funding structure built on a shaky constitutional foundation. They are operating on poor organizing principles, as any government major should know. Sometimes you just have to throw out what you can’t fix.

Barry Schiffman is a senior in the College.

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