The Student Federation established a temporary committee to explore possibilities for the budget surplus in their meeting on Oct. 31.
The motion was introduced by graduate school representative Jose Aravelo, who argued that there needed to be a committee solely focused on finding the best use for the $31,000 that was discovered in an emergency fund over the summer. The surplus doubled the fed’s discretionary fund.
“Thus far, I haven’t seen any concrete proposals for coming up with a concise plan to figure out what we should do with these funds,” Aravelo said.
His proposed committee would have three purposes: first, to brainstorm options for use of the surplus and collect recommendations from the student body; second, to put forward an organized package of the best proposals for the federation’s consideration; third, to execute the decision made by the federation.
“I think that the student body at-large should have some say over what to do with these funds,” Aravelo said.
Aravelo suggested that some uses for the money could be an investment fund, campus improvements, or parceled out for various uses.
Secretary junior Victoria Schmidt questioned the constitutionality of some of Aravelo’s suggestions.
“An endowment may not necessarily help the current students of Hillsdale College, and that’s who we are supposed to be serving,” Schmidt said.
Aravelo responded that the committee would be devoted to weighing questions such as constitutionality and wouldn’t stray from the federation’s mission statement.
Treasurer senior Evan Welch was in favor of forming the committee.
“As chair of the finance committee, I think this is a good idea,” Welch said. “It’s easy for things to be forgotten in these big meetings, and I think this would streamline things better.”
Representative senior Matthew Montgomery opposed the committee, saying that the chairs of already existing committees could request to use the funds.
“I’d rather not run the risk of stepping outside our constitutional purview with things we’ve never tried before.” Montgomery said.
Vice president junior Madeline Peltzer also opposed the motion.
“This is something we should all have a voice in on equal footing, and I am concerned that we would end up putting too much stock in the committee’s recommendation by seeing it as more special than it really is,” Peltzer said.
Representative Sean Collins pointed out that it is not overstepping to establish a special committee for a special circumstance, and that Peltzer’s argument could apply to any of the standing committees.
The vote to create a surplus committee ultimately passed with only Peltzer and Montgomery in opposition.
Welch and senior Nicholas Oxaal, chair of the campus improvements committee, were automatically on the committee, as their committees were most involved. The three remaining seats were filled by representatives Phil Bernston, David Strobach, and Aravelo, who was unanimously voted chair.
The committee is temporary and will remain in existence only until the end of the fall 2019 semester.