One of the largest student groups on campus joined with the Student Association Thursday in an attempt to increase transparency in the SA.
The annual “Meet the SA” event, hosted by the the Black Student Union (BSU), introduced students to the SA E-Board and provided an opportunity to ask questions.
Some of the issues raised during the night included increased funding for student groups, complications in current fundraisers and an off-campus quarrel that resulted in racial slurs and police intervention.
Some members of the BSU asked why they didn’t receive funding, and were confused and irritated about the red tape they said is obstructing their right to raise funds for their group.
Jibri Easter, a senior majoring in psychology, posed a question on the matter.
“Why does Hillel, a student group that is 12 years old, which is younger than everyone in this room, have the most funding, while BSU has less?” Easter said.
Ravi Prakriya, the vice president for finance, responded that in order to get more funding a group has to have a very noticeable presence on campus in order to get a lot of funding.
“Hillel made a beach with tons of sand, and a ton is 2,000 pounds,” Prakriya responded.
Prakriya compared Hillel with a fledgling student group called the Rocketry Club and stated that if they had group meetings with pizza and discussed physics, that was totally acceptable, but if they launched rockets and made it a spectacle for other students, then they would earn more funding.
The entire SA Executive Board attended the event, and the audience consisted mostly of BSU members.
Derrick Conyers, vice president for academic affairs, said he felt the event was important in increasing transparency between the SA and student groups.
“I really enjoyed answering questions and explaining a little of what we do on a day-to-day basis,” Conyers said. “This year, we want to open up more lines of communication and show those who are interested what we as the SA are capable of providing.”
President Eric Larson said that in addition to social opportunities in student groups, there are also thousands of leadership positions that offer personal gain.
One BSU member wanted to know why groups can’t fundraise through raffle ticket sales, expressing frustration with what some said they find to be a slow SA bureaucracy.
According to Prakriya, one of his main jobs was to keep funding for student groups going for future years and to answer to an auditor at the end of each year. According to Prakriya, it was unacceptable for somebody to have $1,500 in his or her pocket from raffle tickets because it could lead to an accounting disaster for the SA committee at the end of the year.
“I am responsible for the collective entity,” Prakriya said. “There are special rules we need to follow in order to make that happen.”
Another BU student asked about a poignant topic involving a Broome County Community College student being thrown out of Dillinger’s Celtic Pub on State Street. Attendees said that following a bouncer calling him an inappropriate racial slur, the BCC student was arrested and charged with a misdemeanor.
Toivo Asheeke, a graduate student studying sociology, said, “We want to raise awareness to this injustice.”
The E-Board sympathized with the student but when the student asked about contacting the campus fall concert performer J. Cole about the situation, the SA committee quickly dismantled the idea, citing legal and contractual boundaries and saying that it would jeopardize future famous performers coming to BU.