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University funds ALFA expenses

By Ellen Liu     8/24/11 7:00pm

The university has started implementing some of the recommendations made by the Asset Liquidation Funds Committee last school year. However, the money that has been used on these initiatives has not come directly from the sale itself but rather from university funds allocated toward certain ALFA suggestions. 

The recommendations that ALFA made are still pending official approval from Rice's Board of Directors. Because of this none of the actual funds will be used until the 2012-13 school year, Committee co-chair Selim Sheikh said. 

Sheikh (Martel '11) said that since ALFA gave their recommendations for the KTRU funds in March the administration has held monthly summer meetings with the committee. 

During these meetings, Sheikh said the proposed budgets were reconsidered and adjusted. For instance, the Community Involvement Center suggested using some of the funds to improve the Alternative Spring Break, and Fondren Library expressed interest in improving its facilities and programs, Sheikh noted. 

Furthermore, fellow Committee co-chair Anna Dodson said that both SA and GSA representatives – along with the faculty members of the committee Paula Sanders, Matt Taylor and Kate Abad – would continue to meet with the President's Office over the fall semester to discuss possible budgets and timelines for the various projects. 

"Due to the nature of the funds raised from the KTRU sale, the timeline for the projected projects will vary depending on the nature of the project," Dodson said. "We cannot yet say which projects will be implemented first, nor can we say with certainty how much of the budget will be allocated to specific projects. These will be the subject of upcoming conversations with the President's Office."

Sheikh added that the committee's formal presentation of its recommendations to the board of directors would happen in September of this year. 

"That's not saying nothing will be spent," Sheikh said, "The university has set aside money for things like the concerts endowment – which helped bring Three 6 Mafia to our Welcome Back Concert – though this money comes from university funds in the name of ALFA, not from the KTRU sale itself."

The administration contributed funds to the concert endowment because it would have an easy, immediate effect on the students, Sheikh said. 

Martel College sophomore Meagan John said she supported the university's contribution to the concert endowment and thought that the Three 6 Mafia Welcome Back concert was a good idea. 

"It was nice to come back and have that event," John said, "It was really good for freshmen."

Sheikh said that there might be plans for more university funds to go toward this year's ASB program in the name of ALFA. 

"The major changes will be long term," Sheikh said. "Things that happen every year are easier to put into effect."

Sheikh also mentioned that the project of lighting the IM fields had been put on hold in the face of discussions with a donor for a possible new tennis court. 

If the university decides to build the court, it might have to take up some IM field space, which would require the fields to be moved, Sheikh said. He noted that delays like these were keeping the IM lighting project from moving forward. 

According to Sheikh, undergraduate and graduate students will continue being involved in the allocation of funds from the KTRU sale. He said that he and another committee member would be stepping off the committee soon and the administration would be finding new representatives of student interests. 

"I don't know the process, but there will be new students on the committee, so there will still be students directly involved in continuing ALFA's work," Sheikh said. 

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