SA allocates funds to groups

The Student Association finalized its student organization fall allocations Tuesday with about 20 minutes of debate and a relatively calm meeting.

Although almost a dozen groups protested their initial allocations last year, only a handful groups voiced concerns this year. The SA quickly responded to organizations’ concerns by giving new groups $150 or denying returning groups funding increases.

Among groups that have received allocations in the past, 95 saw an increase in their allocation and 13 saw a decrease. Seventy-four first-time applicants received $150, the typical funding for new groups.

“We had the smallest number ever of unhappy student groups, which is a testament to the good work the finance committee has done this year,” said SA Executive Vice President Eric Daleo.

Because the SA’s overall budget remained the same as last year’s, extra funding for new student groups and increases for other student groups’ budgets came from the SA’s co-sponsorship fund. The SA’s co-sponsorship fund is 113,231 this year, about $12,000 less than last year.

Sen. Asher Corson (U-CCAS) said despite leaving a smaller co-sponsorship fund than last year, he is not concerned that the SA will run out of money too quickly.

“The co-sponsorship fund is extremely large,” Corson said. “It’s still a lot and I think we’ll have enough.”

Among the groups receiving the largest allocations were the

Student Bar Association which received $26,500, the Medical Center Student Council which received $35,000 and the College Republicans and the College Democrats which received $10,000 each.

The finance committee reviewed student organization spending from last year and its proposed budget for the 2003-04 academic year before coming to a decision on the group’s funding.

Sen. Lee Roupas (U-At-Large), chair of the College Republicans, also sits on the SA’s finance committee. However SA members said he did not vote on his own group’s allocations.

“Our bylaws protect against that kind of ethical malfeasance,” Daleo said. “Senator Roupas was not allowed to debate on, vote on or amend the specific CR allocation, only the initial allocation bill as a whole.”

Campaign organizations Dean 2004, GW Students for Clark, GW for George W. and a group supporting Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) voiced concerns about the status of their organizations and money allotment during Tuesday’s meeting.

Sen. Aaron Binstock (U-SBPM) said since the SA funded the College Democrats and the College Republicans, campaign groups should “act as umbrella organizations and fund the political campaign groups.”

However, Sen. Lee Roupas (U-At-Large) and Sen. Chrissy Trotta (U-CCAS) said they disagreed with Binstock because the College Democrats and College Republicans’ national constitutions prohibit them from participating in primary campaigns.

“We are asking for the simple funds that would go to any student group,” said Sean Flaherty, of Dean 2004.

The groups each received $150 after a debate and vote on the amendment.

Corson said he gave the floor to new group GW Pipe Smokers, which asked for and received an initial allocation during the debate.

Unproductive groups receive less funding in subsequent semesters, SA leaders said. Member of the group One Transfer at a Time, an organization dedicated to transfer students, said they were unhappy with their $150 allocation. However, they were denied extra funding because they did not spend their last allotment effectively.

Some members of student organizations said while they were happy with their allocation, they were unhappy with the SA’s processes.

“I don’t like all the red tape we have to go through,” said Becky Bartlein, president of Capital Goga, which received $700. “Every time we want to spend the money which we supposedly have control over, it takes them forever to get us the check.”

Capitol Goga received $350 last fall.

Organizations will turn in their mid-year allocation budgets early second semester to receive funding for the spring.

-Elizabeth Chernow contributed to this report.

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