The Activities Board at Columbia is responsible for the proper allocation of campus clubs’ funds, and its deliberations have become an interesting cause for concern. Fairness aficionado Maud Rozee visited the group to check it out.
A few days ago, Bwog got a tip which claimed that the Activities Board at Columbia (ABC), which allocated the budgets for over 150 clubs on campus, wasn’t doing enough to prevent conflicts of interest from affecting allocation decisions. We also heard rumors that club leaders weren’t satisfied with the transparency and rationale behind allocation decisions. So, last night, I sat in on one of ABC’s meetings, which are open to the public (and in 501 Lerner, contrary to their website), to see how these allocation decisions were made.
Here’s the good news: the members of ABC seem to be friendly, smart, ethical, and very hardworking. And they have procedures in place which help make allocations fair. Members with conflicts of interest abstain from voting. And, of course, having members with conflicts of interest is inevitable. What are they going to do—only accept applications from people with zero involvement in campus life? That’s not feasible, and it would likely make ABC’s decisions much more poorly informed.