USG reprimands F.U.S.I.O.N. for ‘non-inclusive’ event

Edwin Morel

The Undergraduate Student Government announced the passing of a resolution regarding the exclusivity of the Filipinos Uniting Students in Other Nations’ winter gala event held last semester. In the resolution made public on Feb. 23 USG resolved that the club’s event was not inclusive to the entire Baruch community and subtracted 50 percent of the total winter gala expenditures from F.U.S.I.O.N.’s remaining budget for fiscal year 2015-16. According to the CUNY bylaws, USG holds the right to question any use of student activity funds and, if necessary, “budgets may be expended.”

The decision has yet to affect the club financially, but it still had an impact in other ways. “There is more of an effect on the morale [of the club],” according to Muhaimen Ahmed, vice president of F.U.S.I.O.N.

F.U.S.I.O.N. held their annual winter gala in the multipurpose room on Dec. 15, 2015. The event was promoted as RSVP only and was marketed via a private Facebook group.

Upon creation of a new group on Facebook, the automated option is that the page is closed to anyone who is not a member. Facebook users who create groups have the option to choose whether they want it to be public or private in the process of making a page, but in the case of F.U.S.I.O.N., it was an overlooked option. According to Ahmed, the club did not realize the page was automatically made private.

Based on their solid turnout from the previous year, F.U.S.I.O.N. wanted to provide students with a more entertaining experience but had less money allocated for the event.  In turn, the club opted to get creative and give the gala a theme, with a side attraction for those who did not want to dance.

The RSVP list was created to better promote a game that the club had intended for guests. By making the reservation, a student’s name was added to a list for the “Spyfall” game, which assigns participants either a spy position or location. Upon arrival, guests who made the reservation were given a card with their name, which tore off to reveal who they would be in the game. The goal of the game is for the spy to figure out who is not a spy and their location, but if they are to guess wrong, they lose.

“That was our incentive for people to socialize with each other,” said Ahmed.

The reservation list of the event included 12 outside guests, 23 students from other clubs and 29 students from F.U.S.I.O.N. The event was open to those who did not RSVP, though they were not registered to participate in the game. In a meeting with Sau Fong Lin, USG’s chair of clubs and organizations, and Izabel Zhao, USG’s treasurer, the F.U.S.I.O.N. executive board claimed to also market the event by word-of-mouth to other clubs.

The total amount spent on the event was $1,048.18. USG contacted F.U.S.I.O.N. in late January about the winter gala, said Ahmed. An open discussion was held during a Feb. 2 USG meeting to address the nature of the event, but a decision did not come out of the discussion. Instead, the senate entered an executive discussion following the event and announced its resolution on Feb. 23.

As for the waiting process, Ahmed worked with his club to spread positivity. “As long as they keep having meetings, that means they have not come to a verdict, so worrying would have not been positive.”

Coping without an answer to their budget situation, F.U.S.I.O.N. used the opportunity to improvise with the budget and be more creative. “It was positive because we came up with more interesting [general body meeting] material to save money.”

For their general body meeting held the week of Valentine’s Day, the club took a different approach to speed dating. While challenging students to get to know each other, they were given a phrase on a card completely out of context, and it had to be incorporated in the conversation.

F.U.S.I.O.N. hopes to use the Spring semester to increase the new member’s initiative to increase work activity among members. The last semester brought in an influx of new members, where “old members going to newer GBM’s felt like there was a new F.U.S.I.O.N.,” said Ahmed.

“Because of successes last semester, we are not going to let [the budget cut] faze us. We are going to keep holding really good events, and we’re going to take what happened from last event and learn from it,” said Ahmed.