Response to “Think twice about 40 percent”

In Stefani Jones’s recent column, she explains her opposition to The 40 Percent Plan and suggests that the implementation of The 40 Percent Plan could have significantly adverse effects on small and minority groups such as the Singapore Students’ Association. As the President of the Singapore Students’ Association, I feel that it is hasty and unfair to claim that implementation of The 40 Percent Plan would be a setback for such groups. Indeed, I believe that small groups will remain viable under the proposed system.

The assertion that the implementation of The 40 Percent Plan will result in steep budget cuts for small and minority groups is questionable. The members of cultural groups, such as the SSA, are closely involved in events and activities and are therefore likely to allocate a significant portion of their money to the organization under the proposed plan. Under the current system, small groups typically receive smaller budgets than larger groups. Thus, there is no compelling reason to say that the proposed system will result in steeply reduced funds for small groups. Even where this is the case, the 60 percent of fees that is available to the Student Organization Finance Committee is a significant buffer that can be used to support small groups.

The SSA, up to now, has had no practical issues with the current system. The SOFC has allocated reasonable annual and per-event budgets, and the SSA has been able to operate within this framework. There is no guarantee that the implementation of The 40 Percent Plan will benefit the SSA or other small groups directly in terms of funding.

The 40 Percent Plan, though, challenges the current system on principle—it espouses greater transparency and student involvement in fund allocation. Given that small groups can be viable under either system, I would like to see the plan go to the ballot for judgment.

Manish Nair, Pratt ’17

President, Singapore Students’ Association