Student Association Senate Finance Committee members finished spring student group financial allocations Tuesday and prepared to make next year’s allocation process fair and on time.
But SA President-elect Phil Meisner said he will reject the spring allocations because the process is unfair.
“My goal is to make sure that groups get responses on time, and that we do the fairest possible job,” said undergraduate Sen. David Burt (at-large).
Meisner said a new one-time allocation formula should be implemented this fall to distribute funds equally.
“When we implement this new formula in the fall, we will be judging the groups that apply for funding now and the groups that apply for funding in the fall by two different standards,” Meisner said. “It’s unfair to the lion’s share of the groups who apply in the fall. They get shafted because the Finance Committee wakes up, realizes they don’t have enough money, and they’re constrained and so they cut those groups’ allocations.”
Meisner said he understands certain groups that apply early need funds during the summer. He said those groups should get 35 percent of their proposed allocation for summer programs.
Burt said he agrees with Meisner on certain aspects of his proposal but does not believe waiting until the fall to allocate money is a viable solution.
“I agree with Phil in principle,” he said. “Student group allocations should be decided all at once. But student groups cannot wait for Phil to draw up his formula. This change in process must be done gradually. Due to extenuating circumstances, we can’t do this all at once.”
Burt said groups such as the Student Bar Association, and law and medical school groups need their entire allocations at the end of the semester.
“The Student Bar Association spends a great deal of its money over the summer and the law and medical schools have to use their allocation to do allocations within their schools,” Burt said. “They can’t do that if they don’t have their full allocation in the spring.”
“Waiting until the fall is impossible. It’s not feasible,” said Nathan Williams, president of the Student Bar Association. “We allocate money out to some 30-odd groups that are under us. We have to allocate to them based on our allocation. Also, we do our entire programming for the year in August.”
Burt also said he does not believe groups that get their allocations in the fall will be hurt because he believes the Finance Committee is competent and allocates funds equitably.
“We are a proficient Finance Committee,” Burt said. “This is all done by a democratic process. These aren’t just some arbitrary numbers that we pick.”
Burt also said the Finance Committee has the opportunity in the fall to re-evaluate the allocations given to groups in the spring and make changes if necessary.
Despite the Finance Committee’s promises of fairness, Meisner said he still believes the current process is unfair.
“What they’re doing is totally old school,” Meisner said. “They’re reverting back to the process of the past, which is not right and not fair.”
Burt said he sees no other way at this moment to give student groups what they need.
“Student groups have come in to us, telling us they need all their money now,” Burt said. “It’s not fair to make them wait.”