The Student Association will continue an audit of on-campus student groups this week in an effort to better allocate its funding.
All GW student organizations submitted their budgets to the SA’s Finance Committee Friday and will receive funding based on past spending. SA officials, who are in the process of reviewing last year’s budgets, said some organizations might receive decreased allotments, as the governing body decides how its money should be directed.
“The purpose of the audit is not investigative,” said Jordyn Cosme, chair of the Finance Committee. “It will show the committee if an organization is spending all of the money they requested and is really going to be used for a historical basis.”
Cosme said the SA released its preliminary recommendations for funding student groups Sunday and that those bodies will be able to ask for more funding from the Finance Committee this week. The SA Senate will vote on a final budget on Oct. 5.
“Groups are going to have problems with the allocations any year,” said John Van Name (CCAS-U), a member of the Finance Committee. “This is a political process, at a political university, so there are always going to be people who want to challenge the system.”
Van Name said the Senate is pushing to lower the amount of initial allocations given to campus groups and wants to put more money into the SA co-sponsorship fund, which organizations can apply for in addition to their initial funding. Under a co-sponsorship, the SA would partially fund an organization’s event.
“The co-sponsorship fund really motivates student organizations to have more worthwhile events,” Van Name said.
But some senators said they oppose a system based heavily on co-sponsorships.
“The idea is that more money would be available in the co-sponsorship fund and that we would have increased fiscal responsibility in the allocation process,” Tim Saccoccia (CCAS-U) said. “But in giving a smaller initial allocation you lose the ability to plan ahead for events later in the year because you just don’t have that money.”
Saccoccia, also the treasurer of the Pre-Law Society, said he will lobby for small student organizations when the Finance Committee meets to approve their budgets.
College Democrats President Laila Hasan, who heads up one of the largest on-campus groups, said student organizations will suffer from possible cuts to their finances.
“I think decreasing smaller organizations’ budgets is unfair,” Hasan said. “The SA has a responsibility to provide each organization with the money they will need for the entire year.”
She said that while they will be seeking $15,000 in allocations for the year, $5,000 more than last year, her organization would not be able to rely heavily on co-sponsorships during an election year.
Even though some groups expect difficulties with the new SA funding system, members of the GW Suicide Prevention Action Network said they do not foresee any problems.
“I really don’t think the audit will affect us greatly,” said Lisa Cahan, GW SPAN’s director. “We have a fairly small budget and even though we asked for more money this year, we do understand that if we need more money then it is available through co-sponsorships.”
Cahan, whose group did not use any co-sponsorship money last year, said the program is a good idea for student groups.
She said, “More money would be helpful, but that’s why the SA has co-sponsorships, so that organizations do have an opportunity to put on events that may be more than what is in their budget.”