UCS to finalize members of UFB task force

Thursday, February 7, 2008

At its weekly general body meeting, the Undergraduate Council of Students made progress in establishing a task force to examine the Undergraduate Finance Board.

The task force will examine and propose changes to UFB’s operations, according to Stefan Smith ’09, who will lead the committee. Smith is a member of both organizations as UCS’ representative on UFB.

“The corrupt nature of UFB requires some semblance of oversight,” Smith told The Herald. Smith said UFB’s “lackadaisical approach to allocating funds” has led to a general lack of trust among the student body, leading him to try to form an oversight committee to improve UFB. He added that UFB’s budget could grow as large as $1.3 million if the University approves the increase in the student activities fee recommended by UCS last semester.

“If the student body has any hope of curbing UFB’s ambitious zeal, it’s with my committee,” Smith said.

The creation of the task force was approved by a near-unanimous vote at the end of last semester.

It is unclear whether members of the task force will be allowed into UFB’s closed deliberations. A potential goal of the task force could be to have the deliberations opened to the public on an ongoing basis in order to improve UFB’s transparency. Either change would require the approval of UFB.

Applications for the seven task force positions were solicited by e-mail last week. After receiving 11 applications, the committee found seven potential candidates, including Smith. UCS will confirm the membership list next week after it is finalized. Smith plans to start work as early as this weekend with the tentative membership.

Members of the task force will attend UFB meetings, discuss UFB with student group leaders and compare the dynamics of UFB to similar bodies at Brown’s peer institutions. Smith said he plans for the task force to release its final report in mid-March, before UFB elections for next year.

Also at Wednesday night’s general body meeting, the council approved the contents of its mid-year report to the student body. The report describes UCS’ accomplishments in the last semester and states goals for the current semester. UCS plans to release the report “in the next few weeks,” said UCS President Michael Glassman ’09.

UCS also categorized the Brown Songwriters Club and Ashe, a community action and creative arts group, as Category I student groups. The Brown Animal Rights Club, previously Category I, received Category II status. The Brown Contemporary, also previously Category I, was elevated to Category III status.

The council approved the appointment of Deepa Galaiya ’08 to the College Curriculum Council.

Further, UCS announced that it will hold elections next week for a vacant at-large representative position and for a liasion to the Corporation, left empty by Martin Bell ’10, who recently resigned from UCS. The council also plans to vote at next week’s meeting on two code changes – one that would provide a stipend for the UCS webmaster position and another that would restrict voting eligibility in internal elections only to members who had heard every candidate’s speech.

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