SA President David Burt and Executive Vice President Cathy Ressler should be commended for acquiring more than $57,000 in additional monies intended for distribution to student groups. The Student Association finally has the resources it needs to fund the more than 200 student organizations that request more money every year.
The University charges every student a University fee. What exactly that money is used for is somewhat of a mystery. The new SA administration, however, has successfully lobbied for a larger slice of the pie.
But more money is not always a good thing. While some student leaders insist that the SA is under-funded, every spring a plea goes out to student groups to use surplus funds, which is often a substantial amount. A glut of barbecues, retreats and other hastily organized programs ensues in an effort to spend the money in order to end the year without a surplus and justify similar budgets for the following year.
Perhaps, too, a second look should be taken at the SA’s own budget. Plans for the increase in funds include reserving 20 percent, or about $11,400, for SA staff use. If the SA functioned adequately last year and still had funds left over, do they really need another $11,400?
The perception of an under-funded SA comes from an inefficient and sometimes political appropriation process within the SA. In the past, many student groups felt SA finance committee members distributed more money to organizations in which they were involved. To prevent this problem from occurring again, better communication must be exercised to ensure the groups that need these additional funds the most receive them.
The leaders of the SA must act as responsible stewards of students’ money. Allowing this influx of student fees to go to waste would be a worse than if the University had never turned over the money to the SA in the first place.
There is plenty of time to do the right thing. Burt has pledged to distribute the money to the smaller groups who are traditionally eclipsed by larger, better-known organizations. This measure is a step in the right direction.