Amid debate over responsible spending, student representatives approve year-end event that vice president says may draw 50 from outside
CSUN will spend up to $2,500 on its annual inauguration dinner.
The April 30 event will center on the current executive board passing on the president, vice president and senate president positions to their successors, who will be elected in April and take office at midnight on May 1.
The dinner has traditionally hosted only CSUN officials, but this year student body vice president Geoffrey Moran aimed to plan an event that could draw students from outside the organization.
Liberal arts senator Mark Ciavola suggested that charging students for the event could offset costs to CSUN while preserving the event for those who would attend.
“That would pay for itself and the people who wanted to come would come,” he said.
Business senator Alexander Alfa suggested that the inauguration dinner double as a student meet-and-greet.
“Then it doesn’t feel like they’re getting robbed as much,” he said.
Ciavola pointed out that CSUN hosts other events aimed at forming bonds between students and representatives and that the inauguration event would really be about government members.
The budget for the event is based on potential locations that could hold at least 100 people in a single room as well as catering costs based on various restaurants.
Moran said that he had wanted to host the dinner in the Student Union in an effort to increase student attendance but that CSUN would incur a $120-per-hour fee to keep the building open past its 11 p.m. closing time to accommodate the midnight swearing-in ceremony.
No decision has been made as to the location of the dinner, but the on-campus option would be the most expensive of the choices that Moran offered to the senate.
Several senators argued that the cost of the event at any location suggested would be too high. Some offered suggestions for alternate locations and catering options.
Health sciences senator Rachel Stephens suggested making the dinner a pot luck in order to cut costs.
“It’s basically a party for CSUN people,” she said, urging fiscal conservatism on the issue.
Nine senators supported a motion led by Ciavola and Stephens to reduce the budget amount to $1,000, but the bid failed.
The same 14 representatives who voted against reducing the funding voted to approve the final amount.
Stevens reminded her colleagues that many students were recently upset by a similar CSUN expenditure.
“We got a lot of backlash [for approving funding for a senate retreat in the fall],” she said. “If we vote yes [on the inauguration dinner funding], the student body is going to be ticked again.”
Moran pointed out that the retreat was for CSUN members only, while the inauguration dinner would be open to the public.
Undergraduate student body president Sarah Saenz asserted that the event will be a value for students.
“This inauguration is to recognize the leaders that students have elected,” she said.
Senator Omar Quassani, who voted against the funding, offered the use of his private residence to host a pot luck dinner in celebration of the new executive administration, but CSUN money cannot be spent in a private residence.
If CSUN were to hold the event on campus, it could not host a potluck for students because serving outside food on campus violates the policy of ARAMARK Higher Education, UNLV’s in-house catering company.
Moran said that he does not want to plan a pot luck, but if someone else would plan one, then it was an option that could be considered.
Many who supported the funding said they were interested in hosting an event that projected the organization’s image as “classy.”
“We’ve been trying to make CSUN look more professional,” said liberal arts senator Cory Bradley in favor of approving the funds.
The inauguration dinner will be funded by the CSUN hosting budget, which is typically spent on refreshments for CSUN committee meetings.
Rochel Leah Goldblatt reports on CSUN student government for The Rebel Yell. Contact her at [email protected]