Sunday, July 21

GSA discretionary fund director receives blame for funding delays

Graduate student interest groups did not receive money for their events last quarter because the discretionary fund director did not approve funding requests on time.   
(Quanzhao "Ari" He/Daily Bruin)

Graduate student interest groups did not receive money for their events last quarter because the discretionary fund director did not approve funding requests on time. (Quanzhao "Ari" He/Daily Bruin)

Several Graduate Students Association groups are blaming the association’s fund director for delaying funding allocations to them.

Graduate student interest groups, including the Black Graduate Student Association, Hispanic Latinx Graduate Students Association and the International Graduate Students Association, said they did not receive money for their events because their funding requests were not approved on time at last week’s GSA forum meeting. GSA President Michael Skiles said Andres Schneider, the GSA director of discretionary funds, failed to approve discretionary fund applications or complete reimbursements to graduate student interest groups in a timely manner.

Schneider was not available to speak with the Daily Bruin because he was out of the country.

Graduate student interest groups can apply to receive money from the discretionary fund to hold educational and cultural events on campus. Groups can request up to $3,000 each year and are required to apply no later than three weeks before their event, said Alexander Fung, GSA vice president of internal affairs.

Schneider, who started his term in the fall, was managing the funding applications on a three-week processing cycle, which delayed the funds’ approval and distribution process, Skiles said.

“It’s hard to plan events if you have to wait three weeks for funding, especially since applying for events requires a receipt, and they usually don’t get it until right before the event,” Skiles said. “Student accounting can take a while but that time frame was way too long.”

Former director of discretionary funds and now vice president of external affairs, Parshan Khosravi regulated and approved applications within a week, Skiles said.

Christian Green, president of the Black Graduate Student Association, said Schneider transitioned to the three-week funding approval process without communicating the change to student interest groups.

Green said he had to pay out of his own pocket to fund an event in October because Schneider never responded to or reimbursed him.

“There was a lack of care for his division,” Green said. “We’re paying him $1,600 a year to do this job and he’s doing nothing.”

Green added that although Schneider approved funding for a Thanksgiving mixer the Black Graduate Student Association planned with the undergraduate Afrikan Student Union, his group never received the money.

Schneider agreed to go back to reviewing funding applications on a one-week cycle and has included GSA executive directors in his communications with interest groups, Skiles said.

If Schneider does not remain committed to the one-week funding cycle, the legislative body of GSA may begin the process to impeach him, Fung said.

Skiles said he is still confident that Schneider will improve the funding process for interest groups because Schneider has been including him and the other GSA executives on emails related to funding.

“As long as he continues to operate on a one-week cycle and help groups, it will resolve the issue,” he said. “He has been CC’ing me on his emails to show me he’s being responsible.”

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Opinion staff columnist

Merz is a staff columnist for the Opinion section.

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  • Lisa Chapman

    Shouldn’t the GSA president be monitoring this closely? Shouldn’t they have oversight in what the other directors are doing with this GSA fund? Why did it take this long to understand there was a problem? And Michael Skiles wants to run an entirely new Neighborhood Council with City money? Responsibility should be shared here, not a president throwing others under the bus.