Does MUB Board receive special treatment?

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Does MUB Board receive special treatment?

Anonymous, Lode Writer

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Last week, The Lode ran an article on Film Board and their low budget compared to other special budgetary groups. While their budget, and that of other SBGs, can be found on the corresponding MTU involvement link, it is required that SBGs publish how their budget is spent, however, that doesn’t appear to be the case for MUB Board.

The Memorial Union Board received $64,000 this year from the university. This figure was not obtained from their involvement link, but rather from an email sent to the heads of special budgetary groups and forwarded to the author by Morgan Davis. The amount of money that the MUB Board receives is not available on their involvement link, much less how it is allocated. Unlike Film Board, The Lode and WMTU, the MUB Board is completely opaque in how they spend their money and how much they have.

USG, the Undergraduate Student Government, determines how much money special budgetary groups get from the school. Jesse Stapleton is the advisor to USG as well as the director of Student Activities (in USG’s constitution, the director of Student Activities is also the advisor to USG). Notably, Jesse Stapleton is also the advisor to MUB Board. Thus, she is the advisor to both an organization that handles the division of funds between different organizations, and one of the organizations that has these funds apportioned to them.

USG and the MUB Board are also affiliated through K-Day. Though it is an event run by Student Activities, MUB Board members are the only ones permitted to hand out merchandise such as cups with USG printed on them. The visibility afforded by this could be shared by other student organizations.

We sat down with some current and past presidents of Film Board, a special budgetary group, to discuss this apparent conflict of interest. Wesley McGowan, former president of Film Board, said, “Anyone working in the Student Activities Office should not be able to be an advisor for student orgs. It’s unfair.” According to some present at the interview, there is also an overlap between the members of the MUB Board and USG; a few students are in both organizations.

McGowan had the following anecdote to share about his interactions with Stapleton, “When I was a student, a lot of other black students on campus were talking about how MUB Board doesn’t do diverse programming. I emailed them asking about this and they said they’d put me on the schedule. They said, ‘Oh, can you come to next week’s meeting?” I get there and they say ‘Oh, we didn’t have you on the itinerary. Sorry.” Now me and a friend are at this meeting. We wanted to talk to the org. Jesse Stapleton kept shutting us down from talking to the org. After that she said we could wait ‘til after the meeting.”

After the meeting had concluded, Stapleton spoke to the two students. According to McGowan, because she had refused to listen to what they had to say, she took diverse to mean varied rather than representing minority groups on campus. She brought up laser tag, Stuff-A-Husky and pumpkin carving. “She wouldn’t let us talk. After that meeting, my friend and I weren’t angry. She went around saying ‘two angry black students’ interrupted her meeting.” This was told to McGowan by an unnamed staff member. “We weren’t angry. We just wanted to know why they weren’t doing more diverse programming. I could understand if we were angry. She should’ve just said ‘students.’ She didn’t have to throw race into it at all. For that alone, I don’t think she should be involved in any student decisions in student orgs if you’re going to make decisions like that.” He continues, “I feel like there’s not enough diversity in MUB Board’s programming to represent Michigan Tech as a whole. It needs to start somewhere. If it doesn’t start with the organization that’s supposed to represent me, then where does it start?”

Film Board members asked to express their lack of animosity towards any of the students in USG or MUB Board. When contacted by a USG representative about any problems, the current president of Film Board, Morgan Davis, responded that they had “no concerns with USG, except for Jesse Stapleton.”

The Memorial Union Board’s budget has become swollen over the years. In the past, there existed another special budgetary group called the Student Entertainment Board (SBE), referred to by Davis as “the MUB Board of the Rozsa.” The SEB was in charge of the Winter Carnival comedian among other shows. Under the previous director of Student Activities, this privilege and the corresponding funds for it were transferred to the MUB Board. Without a budget, the SEB faded away and eventually failed to renew their SBG status.

The MUB Board also helps run late night programming. This used to be an entirely separate entity and, according to some students, should remain that way. McGowan and the current Film Board president agree that MUB Board is shown “blatant favoritism.”

However, Jesse Stapleton is “not one of the people who votes” on fund allocations, according to freshman and member of USG Harley Merkaj.

If nothing else, the way that the MUB Board spends its money should be displayed on their involvement link. Wesley McGowan comments, “I don’t know what MUB Board does. MUB Board has their name on all these things, but I can’t see what they’ve done every year. I don’t know how much it costs them.” Morgan Davis adds, “I would understand if the Pistol Club, which gets like $500 a year, didn’t have their budget on there. However, MUB Board gets $60,000 a year, which is more than any other student organization.”