It would seem that the “too big to fail” mentality exists on campuses, too.

Over the past two days, the Cornell Review has reported on the financial mismanagement of a student-run, multicultural umbrella organization: The African, Latino, Asian, and Native American (ALANA) Intercultural Programming Board.

This organization admits that they “lost” $8000 of their student-provided funds, violated their own constitution, and overspent on under-attended events like rap sessions and fancy banquet dinners. In one instance, they even spent over $450 of funds just on pins for their executive board.

In addition to exorbitant spending, ALANA was also fiscally disorganized. When it came time for the organization to submit their budget, they submitted it three different times. According to Cornell’s Appropriations Committee, each budget cited different numbers.

And yet, last night- even while acknowledging this egregious mismanagement of funds- ALANA asked the Student Assembly for a significant increase by $37,125 for funding.

An ALANA represented claimed that they see the mismanagement as “a learning experience,” and that they have “no reason to believe moving forward they will make the same mistakes.”

Over 100 students attended ALANA's budget appeal

Over 100 students attended ALANA’s budget appeal

Their reasoning for demanding more of students money? They believe that the services ALANA provides (funding programs for different multicultural clubs) is simply too important for accountability by means of decreasing their funds.

ALANA’s advisor, Andrew Martinez, told the Sun before the appeal that:

“I don’t think it’s justifiable to say, ‘only look at the numbers.’ You need to understand what these programs are for and who they are supposed to be reaching.”

ALANA is funded directly from Cornell’s student activity fee. Last year, each student contributed $8.75, whether or not they would use ALANA’s services. This year, the student-led Appropriations Committee decided to decrease this amount to a $7 contribution for each student, after reviewing ALANA’s proposed budget and realizing the organization’s financial mishaps.

Logo of the African, Latino, Asian, and Native American (ALANA) Intercultural Programming Board

Logo of the African, Latino, Asian, and Native American (ALANA) Intercultural Programming Board

The result was outrage from ALANA.

ALANA’s president, Karan Javaji ’14, described the proposed cuts as “unthinkable.”

According to a source on the Appropriations Committee, the perspective some on campus have chosen to take is not that the club messed up, but that the University obviously does not prioritize diversity- otherwise, it would increase funds rather than decrease them.

Apparently, care about diversity = more money for banquet dinners.

One Letter to the Editor described ALANA as the Student Assembly’s “latest victim.”

This victim mentality relies on feelings that ALANA serves a higher purpose than other organizations on campus. The Vice President of the Appropriations Committee, Geoffrey Block, pointed out that the committee must treat all organizations the same- it can not make a special exception for ALANA.

Block said the appropriations committee made its recommendation based on its “obligation to treat every single byline-funded group the same.”

Ultimately, equal treatment on campus is what ALANA is supposed to be advocating for. But in this case, ALANA wants to be treated as special.

ALANA’s case did not fly with Cornell’s Student Assembly, who last night approved the Appropriation Committee’s budget 23-2.

The Student Assembly voted in favor of the Appropriations Committee 23-2

The Student Assembly voted in favor of the Appropriations Committee 23-2