On Nov. 13, College Council (CC) voted to approve a one-time allocation of $34,000 to Minority Coalition (MinCo) to fund heritage month events. At the meeting, MinCo co-chairs Tyler Tsay ’19 and Rodsy Modhurima ’19 presented their proposal for funding, which MinCo will distribute to 17 of its 22 groups.
This funding came out of CC’s general fund, which it opened to MinCo groups last year. The $34,000 is almost 12 percent of this year’s general fund allotment. MinCo groups, unlike most registered student organizations, receive their primary annual budgets from the Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity through the Davis Center rather than CC, and are thus not eligible for subgroup funding.
MinCo’s steering board has a yearly allocation of $66,000 from the Davis Center, which is then distributed to its organizations. After fall allocations, the MinCo steering board was left with $7,000 to provide additional funding for the rest of the year, according to Tsay and Modhurima. Because this is not enough to cover the costs of their programming, MinCo groups are left to secure additional funding from the general fund, the Davis Center and academic departments. This disparity between how much funding is needed and how much is actually available “puts a lot of pressure” on the Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity, Tsay said. Modhurima agreed. “MinCo really doesn’t get that much funding and we need [more] funding,” she said.
CC’s approval will allow MinCo groups to organize more heritage month events and to dedicate more time to actually planning events, instead of securing funding. “We don’t want heritage month to be all about fundraising,” said Modhurima.
Because the recent funding will be used to cover costs that MinCo’s remaining budget would have been needed for, the Steering Board is now exploring ways in which their budget can best support the other needs of student groups. “It gives us more flexibility,” Tsay said.
The MinCo steering board has now created two new funds that MinCo groups can access: the pending request fund and rapid response fund. The pending request fund will allow group leaders to alert MinCo to set aside money, so that groups can negotiate with speakers using already secured funding. The rapid response fund will allocate small amounts of money for events that are in need of last minute funds.
While this allocation will not be recurring, Tsay and Modhurima hope it has lasting effects in securing more funding for MinCo groups. Tsay noted that this signifies to the College administration that MinCo groups need increased funding as the number of groups and the students involved grow. CC Co-President Lizzy Hibbard ’19 echoed this view. “We were willing to pick up the slack because MinCo groups deserve funding, with the idea being that, long term, it would be better if the administration funded MinCo,” she said.
This also signifies the collaboration that exists between CC and MinCo, two bodies that have seemed disconnected in the past, explained Tsay and Modhurima. Hibbard agreed and stressed the importance of the two groups working together. “Something we’ve worked really closely with [Tsay] and [Modhurima] on is wanting to build more meaningful connections between CC and MinCo because historically that hasn’t really been the case,” Hibbard said. “The students that are involved in groups in MinCo are a huge portion of the student body, so if you’re not really working with MinCo, you’re not really representing the student body.”