by Gianina Lomedico
The Associated Students Federation (ASF) Forum overrode President Mario Guerrero’s veto, which would have allocated ASF funds to the Model United Nations (MUN) Organization, on Feb. 28.
Guerrero explained his thoughts on the organization.
“It is a great program because it provides a great opportunity for the students who get to participate. But, I don’t think it’s ASF’s job to pay for it just like ASF would not pay to help students study abroad,” he said.
MUN is a program that allows students at the University of La Verne to become delegates at a real United Nations conference.
Schools are assigned a country to represent the UN that is close to their student population size from Washington, D.C. Students then research on specific topics about the country.
This year, ULV is the country of Samoa. Meetings have been going on since last semester. This year, ULV plans to take six to 10 delegates to the National Model Nations Conference on April 9-16 in New York. About 200 schools from around the world and close to 3,000 delegates will attend the annual event.
He allocated money to the program during his freshman and sophomore years “under the assumption that they were going to eventually become self-sufficient.” He wrote in his statement of why he vetoed the proposal. “Every year MUN has promised to return to ULV and hold some kind of program for students to share what MUN students learned and they have not done so. It seems to me that MUN has shown little responsibility in terms of keeping their promises.”
Also along in Guerrero’s statement, he explained that he did not agree with spending $3,390 for eight students to attend MUN. In his calculations, it would cost $425 per student to attend MUN. He said he believed that it was too much money when each student on campus pays $90 for student-activity fees. “I think it is ASF’s duty to judge the merit, the impact, and the cost vs good that any proposal will have on the campus,” he said.
On Feb. 18, the proposal of allocating $3,390 with the stipend that MUN presents its UN experience at the Multicultural Fair in April was made 8 in favor, 1 against, and 2 abstained. On Feb. 28, the Forum overrode Guerrero’s veto because it thought that the following stipulations would alleviate the problems mentioned in Guerrero’s veto proposal. These involve allocating $3,390 with a stipend that MUN must be a club by March 9, MUN must have a presentation to share its experiences at “Commuter Daze” and documentation that if they do not fulfill these stipulations it will not receive money next year. This won in favor of 11-0-2.
MUN Chairperson senior Stefan Chacon commented on the decision. “It’s a good thing that ASF stuck to its guns and voted the same. It makes a good statement.” He also added that, “It set a good precedent that an organization [MUN] that works hard finding an event that is worth the student’s money and that ASF supports those kinds of organizations and causes.”
Chacon also explained how he felt about Guerrero’s statement. “The biggest promise we made is to take interested, motivated, and involved students to the most educational forum. It’s hard for us to try to force presentations of our accomplishments on people if they are not interested. We are open always to do what we can for the student body,” Chacon said.
He also commented on the proposal about the money situation. “Most students do not seek anything from that $90 [student activity fee]. The students in the MUN that go deserve it. They are involved with many activities in school. If students are not applying for the MUN, it doesn’t mean that we don’t deserve the money,” he said.
Chacon said that MUN is important to students. “It is a really important step toward an international-political career. You come back and get such a great understanding of how the UN works. Individuals that go get so immersed into the information and experience everything first hand. It is really about interacting with people who take it very seriously and becomes an eye-opening experience.”
Guerrero explained how he felt about the decision. “I knew that the Forum had the two-thirds majority to overturn my veto even before I wrote my statement. I don’t agree with this decision/proposal, and I wanted to make a statement on behalf of the students I represent,” he said.