Correction (February 28, 2004): The article incorrectly said that representative Sam Hill (SFS ’05) introduced a motion to the GUSA Student Assembly to grant Lecture Fund independence. The Lecture Fund actually introduced the motion as groups of more than ten students are permitted introduce motions directly to the Assembly. Representative Happy Johnson (COL ’07) seconded the motion.

The GUSA Assembly voted Tuesday to approve a resolution granting the Lecture Fund full independence from the Student Association.

The resolution, which passed by a vote of 12-1, changes the Lecture Fund from a GUSA agency into an independent SAC organization. The Lecture Fund’s leadership will now be chosen by its members instead of the GUSA president.

“Separation from GUSA allows us to stay detached from campus politics and focus our efforts on programming,” Lecture Fund Chair Gerard Alolod (SFS ’05) said.

The resolution is the product of a longstanding desire within the Lecture Fund for independence from GUSA. Many members felt that the previous system, in which leaders were chosen by the GUSA President, was inefficient and created problems.

The group voted in favor of its own independence several weeks ago before asking GUSA for the necessary changes to Student Association bylaws.

Led by Alolod, a delegation of Lecture Fund members attended the past two assembly meetings to make the case for independence.

Alolod stressed that GUSA and the Lecture Fund served two entirely distinct purposes, and that to place Lecture Fund under GUSA’s jurisdiction hindered its abilities to bring the best speakers to campus.

Senior representative Sam Hill (SFS ’05) introduced a constitutional amendment granting the Lecture Fund independence at last week’s meeting. Such a proposal would have required the approval of the student body.

But after discovering that Lecture Fund independence could be achieved just by changing the bylaws, Hill introduced a new resolution at this week’s meeting. Bylaw changes require only a two-thirds vote of the assembly.

Senior representative Chaz Perin (COL ’05) was the only assembly member to vote against the resolution. He criticized the members of the Lecture Fund, saying they had no right to declare independence. He also said that the removal of organizations from GUSA’s jurisdiction could lead to the fragmentation of GUSA.

But Hill said that GUSA and the Lecture Fund are “fundamentally different organizations,” and that independence would create a more effective Lecture Fund.

Lecture Fund members celebrated their new independence after the vote, but made it clear that they had no intention of fully ending their relationship with GUSA.

As an independent SAC organization, the Lecture Fund is now obligated to operate with an open membership policy.

The separation of the Lecture Fund from GUSA raises questions regarding the student association’s declining influence over student affairs. But Hill waved off such concerns, saying that GUSA is primarily an advocacy commission, and retains that role.

GUSA President Pravin Rajan (SFS ’07) said that he supported the Lecture Fund’s drive for independence.

“They should be busy trying to bring speakers to campus, not dealing with GUSA political issues,” he said. “However, I hope that GUSA and the Lecture Fund will continue to work together in an effort to coordinate programming on-campus. We’ll do so because of friendship, not because of bylaws.”

“We are thrilled that GUSA has been supportive in our efforts to better our own organization,” Alolod said. “We’ve always said that we hope to maintain a close working relationship with GUSA and include them in the production of future events. We are currently examining various options regarding membership, which will become further solidified in the coming weeks.”

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