SA questions PB funding

Student Association President David Burt said he wants to change the current allocation system to give the SA control over PB funding and distribute money to the group like all other student organizations.

Every group has to make hard decisions because of inadequate funding, except for the Program Board, Burt said. There are student organizations that get 100 or 200 dollars per year, while the Program Board gets more than all of them combined. Last year, they had money left over, and still got a budget increase for this year. Is it really fair that one group controls so much money?

PB Executive Chair Seth Weinert said last year’s $270,000 PB budget was necessary. He said a surplus of $6,000 demonstrated that the budget was close to what the PB needed last year. Weinert said the surplus was spent on summer programming.

The SA and PB split funding from the University under an SA bill that never passed the SA Senate, Burt said. The SA receives 55 percent of what Student Academic and Support Services allocates, and PB gets the rest.

Weinert said he thinks PB should be left alone. He said almost all major GW events, such as Fall Fest and Spring Fling, are organized with the help of the PB.

If money were taken away from the Program Board, then one major event such as Fall Fest could not continue to exist, Weinert said. Is it that important to put an extra $100 in every organization’s pocket?

Burt said he researched the format for funding the SA and PB and found the present method of funding the two organizations stems from an unconstitutional agreement made in 1992 between former SA President Kyle Farmbry and former PB Executive Chair Brett Caldwell.

Farmbry and Caldwell agreed to have the PB receive 45 percent of the funds designated for the SA, but never ratified the rule in the Senate, Burt said.

Burt said he does not want to limit PB’s role on campus.

The Program Board spends its money on a lot of excellent programs and provides a wide range of activities for this campus, and I would never want to see the Student Association infringe on their territory, Burt said.

But Burt said PB should be doing more for the amount of money it receives.

Weinert said PB has spent money wisely.

We spent $40,000 on Fall Fest this year. Four thousand kids showed up, and we gave them a Cypress Hill concert, a meal, and all kinds of cool giveaways, Weinert said. There’s no way a student can take 10 dollars out of their pocket and get that someplace else.

Burt also said PB has not co-sponsored enough events for the amount of money the group receives.

Burt said his complaints stem from an incident last year, when he approached the Program Board to ask for financial co-sponsorship for an event with his fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha. He said his proposal for funding was turned down by PB.

I have no idea what he’s talking about, said PB Executive Chair Seth Weinert.

PB approaches the issue of co-sponsorship differently than the SA does, Weinert said. While the SA gives out money to all campus student groups, PB is more selective. It will co-sponsor events, but only if it is granted input in their planning.

Burt said PB’s involvement with the Graduate and Professional Student Association is an example of poor co-sponsorship because PB controls the format of events. GAPSA was created by the PB to address graduate student issues in GW programming.

Alicia O’Neill, Graduate Affairs Chair of the PB, met with leaders from each graduate school to forge what she calls an updated agreement that focuses on current issues. Under the agreement, about half of the $50,000 doled out to GAPSA can only be used for events that involve all graduate students and about half can go to umbrella groups in each graduate school.

Weinert said PB will put its financial records on the Web in a few weeks so students can judge for themselves whether their money is being spent wisely.

Not only will people be able to see that we’re doing an excellent job of apportioning student money, they’ll be able to put their two cents in, Weinert said. Not only should students know how we spend money, but they should know how we spend it and where we spend it . and if they think something should be a different way, they can come to our meetings.

– Jason Steinhardt contributed to this report.

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