ASUC Arts and Creativity Fund could be removed due to lack of fundraising

Photo: The third-to last ASUC Senate meeting was Wednesday, April 20. Academic Affairs Vice President Viola Tang was set to present an update on the Arts and Creativity Fund and her progress in obtaining funding at this meeting, but she made her presentation early on April 13.
Caroline McCloskey/Staff
The third-to last ASUC Senate meeting was Wednesday, April 20. Academic Affairs Vice President Viola Tang was set to present an update on the Arts and Creativity Fund and her progress in obtaining funding at this meeting, but she made her presentation early on April 13.

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The future of the ASUC Arts and Creativity Fund has remained a source of contention over the last two weeks as Academic Affairs Vice President Viola Tang and several ASUC senators have continued to offer conflicting interpretations of the senate bill that created the fund.

Established last semester after lengthy debate on the senate floor, the fund aims to give money to students in the arts - in addition to the five grants already established in Tang's office - and exists under the condition that it sustains itself on fundraising.

According to the bill, Tang would appear before the senate at its third-to-last meeting and present an update on the fund and her progress to secure sustainable sources of funding.

"If the AAVP office is unsuccessful in their fundraising efforts, this title shall be removed from the ASUC bylaws," the bill states.

Prior to the April 13 senate meeting, Student Action Senator Brandon Pham informed Tang that the time had come for her to provide the update required by the bill.

In her address to the senate at that meeting, Tang said fundraising had been inhibited by several factors - including members of her staff who stepped down - and asked for another week to continue her efforts, which include meeting with Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost George Breslauer to discuss possible ways he can monetarily support the fund.

Tang has already committed her stipend to the fund.

After Tang's abrupt departure from the meeting, Pham and other senators concluded that Tang had not met the fundraising requirements established in the bill and that the fund would be automatically stricken from the bylaws as a result - a thought left unchallenged by any other members of the senate at that time.

But Tang said the senate would need to conduct a review of the grant first before officially removing it, though she said the decision rests with the senate in the end.

"If they decide that they want to just kill it because they interpret the bill I wrote in that way, the senate is the one that has a vote," Tang said. "I'm not the one who can decide how they want to do it."

However, the third-to-last senate meeting was not actually until this past Wednesday, though the final senate meeting scheduled for May 4 will likely be canceled due to the fact that it would take place during the campus's Reading, Recitation and Review week before finals.

Still, several senators have maintained that the fund is dead. CalSERVE Senator Kenny Gong said the issue may not be completely resolved before the current senate finishes its term.

"In my mind, I can see (the fund) technically being dead, but because I think it's a really amazing initiative, I can see the energy being put to make it sustainable," Gong said.

Tang did not attend this week's meeting to provide an update on the fund, though she said she is continuing to work on it.

Student Action Senator Michael Bloch said the bill was written with the intention that it would be removed from the bylaws if Tang's office failed to establish sustainable funding in time for the deadline.

"She can disagree with it as much as she wants, but that's how it is," Bloch said.

Tags: ASUC SENATE, ARTS AND CREATIVITY FUND, VIOLA TANG


J.D. Morris is the lead student government reporter. Contact him at [email protected]



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