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The Student Fed­er­ation has estab­lished a tem­porary com­mittee to explore pos­si­bil­ities for their budget surplus.
STUDENT FEDERATION | COURTESY

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.