SU funds Mock Trial huge per-student cost for UCLA tourney
Mock Trial may not have a Student Union budget this semester, but that didn’t keep it from landing an allocation of more than $480 per student to attend a conference in the spring.
SU Treasury funded the group $2,900 in a 16-2 vote to send six people to the world-class UCLA tournament, despite the group’s lack of a budget this semester and only-recent approval as a student group.
In previous years, Mock Trial received funding directly from Washington University but was recently designated a student group under Student Union.
“There is less in our budget than there normally would be, so some of those costs have shifted to this appeal,” junior Nicolas Dumas, Mock Trial Vice President of Finance, said.
Jake Lichtenfeld, junior and Student Group Activities Committee co-chair, commended the group for flying to a less convenient airport and staying in an inexpensive hotel close to UCLA’s campus so Mock Trial members could walk to the tournament each day.
“They went to the initiative to save costs where they could, so I think they’ve proven that they should get this funding,” Lichtenfeld said.
Rebecca Gosch, senior and Mock Trial President, emphasized the strength of the UCLA competition in addition to the ideal timing.
“By competing with such strong teams when we’re getting ready for the post-season, that will help our team get stronger,” Gosch said.
Although Mock Trial is mostly funded through donations from St. Louis law firms and from hosting a tournament, Jacob Walker, senior and Treasury representative, expressed concern about how many competitions Mock Trial will be funded to attend.
“I’m concerned about the number of competitions the group is going to for only 20 people,” Walker said.
Greg Porter, junior and treasury representative, said that the group earned its ability to attend more competitions.
“The group goes to more conferences and competitions than other groups do and [doesn’t] always ask for SU funding. I don’t know how they get the money, but I commend them for not just coming to us,” Porter said.
Some concern erupted in Treasury about whether the coach’s trip should be funded or not, which would have brought the cost up to $3,200 for six students and one coach.
Ultimately, Treasury rejected funding for the coach, leading to some discontent with the final resolution.
“All the sports teams pay for the coach to go with them because the coach is vital to what the team does. In this instance, the coach could add value by providing feedback,” Porter said.
At the same meeting, Overflow, an inter-denominational Christian student organization, was unanimously approved for $1500 to cover part of the registration and lodging costs for 10 members to attend a retreat over winter break. The group has attended the retreat for the last four years.
“We find a lot of the progress we make every year is when many of the students are coming together and getting together to share new ideas…having talked to people that go to the conference, that seems to be what they take away,” Daniel Pasque, senior and Overflow president, said.
Beyond funding appeals, the Student Group Activities Committee also approved the Red Cross Club for Category Two funding, citing low costs and the belief that the group consistently promotes positive goals on campus.
With little debate, Treasury also passed two amendments to its constitution. One fixes a grammatical error, in which a random number appears in the middle of a sentence. The other amendment is to ensure that block-funding groups can appear on the fall ballot. The current wording suggests they may only be in the spring election, while the proposed new wording changes it to once per academic year.