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ASUCLA set to discuss its philanthropy policy

By John Peter Cavender

Jan. 13, 2014 2:03 a.m.

The Associated Students UCLA board of directors is in the process of developing a policy to determine how to respond to philanthropic requests.

At its meeting last month, the necessity for such a policy was highlighted by board members when they discussed how to reply to a donation request from members of the Typhoon Haiyan Relief Committee – a group of 10 to 15 students, faculty and members of the community who work to raise donations for and bring attention to Typhoon Haiyan’s devastation of the Philippines last November.

At the meeting, three members of the relief committeeasked the board of directors to match the committee’s collected donations of about $6,000 with ASUCLA funds.

Everyone on the board wanted to find a way to help the relief committee, but members disagreed on how to provide that help, said Amy Liu, the board’s chair and one of its graduate representatives.

During the board’s hourlong discussion of the funding request, David Zeke, a graduate representative to the board of directors, said he does not feel comfortable donating money that partially stems from student fees without student input.

This is not the first time ASUCLA has considered giving a charitable donation.

In the past, ASUCLA gave student store gift cards to college students displaced by Hurricane Katrina, said Sandra Gillespie, ASUCLA association affairs manager.

After 9/11, the UCLA Store sold patriotic merchandise and gave 100 percent of the proceeds to relief efforts, she added.

After much discussion of whether or not to match the funds of the relief committee, the board
decided to contact relief committee members suggesting that ASUCLA work with them collaboratively to raise funds for the relief effort.

The board gave the request proper consideration, said Karleen Giannitrapani, a board member and graduate representative. Giannitrapani added that though she believes the board made the right decision, she would have liked to provide more immediate assistance to the relief committee.

Members of the relief committee had different opinions about the board’s decision.

“I was upset and was really disappointed about the decision,” said John Joanino, Undergraduate Students Association Council president and one of the members of the relief committee present at the December board meeting. “I was really shocked that they would choose not to support this effort.”

However, he added that he looks forward to collaborating with the board to support relief efforts for the Philippines.

Justine Pascual, president of SamahangPilipino, a third-year human biology and society student and a member of the relief committee, said she also did not expect the board’s decision.

“I would have liked ASUCLA to match the funds,” Pascual said.

After speaking with a friend attending UC Santa Barbara who told her that Associated Students UCSB was matching the student-collected donations that go toward relief efforts in the Philippines, Pascual suggested that the relief committee ask ASUCLA to do the same.

ASUCSB is accepting donations through a PayPal link on its webpage and will match all donations up to $5,000, said Jonathan Abboud, ASUCSB student body president and fourth-year political science student.

ASUCSB has a history of matching relief efforts,” Abboud said. “This was basically a continuation of that legacy. It helps unite the community.”

Abboud said ASUCSB,which is student-run and funded entirely by student fees, and ASUCLA, are very different and that his school’s student union is equivalent to UCLA’s undergraduate student government. He added that ASUCSB passed the motion to match student-collected donations up to a cap of $5,000 without objection.

UCLA students had mixed opinions as to what kind of philanthropic policy ASUCLA should enact.

The ASUCLA board is currently working on a philanthropy policy, Liu said. The board began discussing such a policy in October 2013, she added.

The ASUCLA executive committee will meet today to begin working on a draft of a policy proposal that will, once completed and passed by the committee, go before the board for a vote, she added. Liu said she hopes a policy will be enacted by the end of the school year.

At a ASUCLA service committee meeting on Friday, committee members voted to pass a proposal to the board of directors for a program in which ASUCLA would donate 10 percent of purchases with a coupon at the UCLA Student Store to the relief committee’s effort.

The board of directors will vote on the 10 percent donation proposal, which was developed in collaboration with the relief committee, at its Jan. 24 meeting.

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