Spring Ballot Question, Explanation of Line Items

posted Feb 20, 2011, 8:40 AM by SBA President   [ updated Feb 23, 2011, 12:09 PM by Web Master ]
The Election this week will contain the Ballot Question Below.  I have asked proponents of each line item to draft information statements on the proposed use of funds for each line item.  The ballot question and information statements are below.

Ballot Question
Do you approve of the proposed allocation by the ways and Means Committee to allocate the 2010 -2011 budget surplus in the following manner?

$3,000 donation to MJF for funding of a PILF
$4,000 to Basement improvements
$2,500 for the establishment of a Non Profit Legal Aid clinic
$6,000 for the Social Committee
$2,500 to the Board of Governor’s funds

Informational Statement Regarding MJF PILF

The P.I.L.F. program is a program of Hamline’s Chapter of the Minnesota Justice Foundation.  Each P.I.L.F. is a summer clerkship, which is funded by a silent auction in which Hamline students, alumni, faculty and staff bid on items generously donated by local businesses and others in the community, and donations.  The students who wish to receive a P.I.L.F. will design their own clerkship at a public interest agency in Minnesota.  Persons who bid on the items will be given an opportunity to vote on these student proposals to decide who should receive a P.I.L.F.  Past recipients from Hamline and other area law schools have clerked at several Twin Cities locations including:  Children’s Defense Fund in Saint Paul, Battered Women’s Legal Advocacy Project, Neighborhood Justice Center, Minnesota AIDS Project, and Legal Aid Society of Minneapolis.

Informational Statement Regarding SBA Social Committee

"The Social Committee will use this allocation to fund Barrister's Ball and the end of year graduation party.  Barrister's Ball (a.k.a. "Law Prom") is an annual gala that includes dinner, dancing, the MJF Silent Auction, and presentation of the Professor of the Year Award.  The allocation will assist in keeping Barrister's affordable so all students will have the opportunity to attend. 
The allocation will also be used to fund the end of year graduation party.  Yearly, this event is held for graduating students to celebrate their time at HUSL.  Funding for this event was cut greatly when the year's estimated budget was set, so, while not a full replenishment of the amount, the tradition of holding this annual event will continue."

Informational Statement Regarding the Establishment of a Non Profit Legal Aid Clinic

The administration of Hamline School of Law has recognized the importance of volunteer legal work in the community through the institution of a service requirement for graduation.  Students are now required to perform at least 24 hours of pro bono legal service, with a special notation on your diploma if you work more than 50 hours.

In order to support volunteer legal work in the community, the Hamline Student Bar Association through the Ways and Means committee proposes setting aside $2,500 to fund a pro bono legal clinic at Hamline.  This program will administer by the Membership Committee, chaired by the SBA Secretary, with assistance from the Minnesota Justice Foundation, and law school administration.

The money will be used to establish a monthly legal aid clinic on an area or areas of law designated by the Membership Committee.  Residents of the Hamline-Midway and broader St. Paul community would be able to come to Hamline and receive legal assistance from Hamline students supervised by participating lawyers and non-profit legal assistance organizations.  The anticipated spending of $250 per month would therefore fund 10 clinics.  Up to 2 clinics would occur this Spring, with the remaining 10 during the 2011-12 academic year.  The money would cover the expenses of advertisement, transportation, office supplies, food for the volunteers, and other costs.

Informational Statement Regarding funding for basement improvements

Throughout the year the SBA fielded a number of complaints about conditions in the basement.  From the aged TV, to the comfort of the chairs, the lack of accessible student utensils, to lack of power strips and many others.  Instead of passing judgment on proposals individually.  the Ways and means Committee proposed the allocation of funding for basement improvements generally.  If approved the SBA will set up mechanisms, likely a committee which will solicit input and proposals from the student body for specific improvements and be empowered to pursue approval for the improvements from the Administration and put the improvements in place.

Informational Statement Regarding BOG Fund

The SBA Board of Governors, the voting body composed of Class Representatives and Executive members saw its funding cut this budget year.  Replenishment of some of this funding would allow the BOG to distribute funds to any member of the SBA (most students) who bring a bill before the body.