While nearly a dozen student groups protested what they felt were unfair allocations, the Student Association Senate voted in favor of the 2002-2003 allocations bill after a three-and-half-hour meeting Tuesday. The resolution, which SA President Phil Robinson, despite reservations, is expected to sign, allocated more than $218,000 to 135 registered student groups.
A University bailout of a $50,000 SA budget shortfall allowed the SA to allocate $19,000 more funds than last year.
“I feel good that (most) groups weren’t upset with their allocations,” SA Executive Vice President Eric Daleo said. He said he remembers more than 50 groups complaining about allocations two years ago.
Only one group protested their allocation at last year’s Senate allocation meeting, according to Hatchet articles.
The SA attempted to give most groups a 5 percent boost from last year’s allocation, said Sen. Dan Moss (SBPM-U), chair of the Finance Committee. The Finance Committee determined allocations two weeks ago after student groups submitted detailed budgets from last year and planned spending for the upcoming year.
The Medical Center Student Council and Student Bar Association received the largest allocations with $32,550 and $24,045, respectively. While the MCSC and SBA are both responsible for student groups within the Medical and Law schools, they are both allocated funds from the general SA.
However, SBA leaders said they feel their allocation is unfair, noting they are receiving 56 percent of what they put into the SA through the $1-per-credit fee. Law students are receiving less than two thirds of the $42,585 they put into SA accounts, while the MCSC is receiving more than 2,000 additional dollars than they contribute.
“It just doesn’t make sense that we’d get back (a little more) than half of what we gave,” SBA President Zach Ellis said.
Moss defended the MCSC allocation being higher than SBA’s, noting that undergraduate and graduate students in the School of Public Health benefit from Medical School events.
Other student groups that attended Tuesday’s meeting said they were worried the SA would lower their funding following Sen. Mark Hershfield’s (G-Law) threats to “cut the fat out of bloated student organizations” like the College Democrats and Republicans, who are receiving $9,450 each.
The executive boards of both the College Democrats and Republicans attended and spoke at the meeting in an effort to avoid a funding cut.
“We very happy with the planned allocations, we just hope they won’t be changed,” said CR Treasurer Bryan O’Keefe.
Moss and other members of the Senate said organizations can use co-sponsorships and mid-year evaluations to make up for student group budget shortfalls.
At midyear, the Finance Committee meets again with student groups to reassess the funds appropriated earlier in the year and decide whether to increase or decrease funding. Student groups can also approach the SA throughout the year for additional money, known as co-sponsorship funds, for specific events. The SA left more than $101,000 in the co-sponsorship budget.
The Finance Committee uses proposed budgets, rather than the quality of programming or size of individual student groups to determine allocations for the year. If groups spend more than 66 percent of their budget they receive the standard 5 percent increase, between 66 percent and 33 percent organizations receive no increase, and if they spend less than one third of their budget they receive a five percent budget decrease, Moss said.
“There’s just no way we can arbitrarily decided that one group’s pizza party is better than another group’s pizza party,” Moss said.
WRGW leaders also complained about their allocation, which saw the SA cutting their budget in half, to $4,725, from last year’s initial allocation of $8,500.
Station General Manager Brett Kaplan said the severe cut in funding would seriously damage the station’s ability to produce content. Assistant Music Director Josh Pearl went on further to say during the SA Senate’s pubic comment session that the station “needs new equipment to maintain the professionalism required to work with record labels and artists.”