Student group funding would be cut by over $22,000 under a proposed bill being considered by the Student Association Senate Finance Committee. Senators said the cuts in funding would allow the SA to co-sponsor more events.
The proposed legislation, introduced Tuesday night, is a preliminary effort by the SA to decide how much money should be allotted to student organizations. The Senate meeting was cut short early Wednesday morning at 4 a.m., when Marvin Center officials asked the group to leave. Due to the hurry, the Senate did not pass the final bill and postponed some allocations until their next meeting on Oct. 12.
At Tuesday’s meeting, organizations were given the opportunity to argue for more money. EMeRG. was hit hardest by the cuts, originally receiving no funding from the governing body. Later in the meeting, the Senate passed an amendment giving EMeRG $5,800; that amount was $800 short of last year’s allocation.
“There is nobody here who doesn’t support EMeRG.,” said Jason Karasik (G-Law), speaking on behalf of the Finance Committee. “The administration has begun to diminish its financial support for this group and is increasingly leaving the SA to pick up the slack.”
The Finance Committee called on the University to fully fund the emergency medical response group, but officials from EMeRG. protested their lack of SA allocations.
“Cutting funding is just going to hurt us,” said Ashley Boeri, supervisor of public relations for EMeRG. “Please don’t use us as a pawn in a fight against the University.”
EMeRG. was not the only group protesting their allocation on Tuesday night. The College Democrats and College Republicans received a 10 and 13 percent funding decrease, respectively.
“We just felt like they were looking for a reason to cut us instead of looking at all the great programming we do,” said Justin Neidig, director of public relations for the College Republicans. “We’re now an umbrella organization so we have numerous groups that now look to us for funding.” After protesting their original allocations, CDs and CRs were each given an extra $1,300.
“This year we obviously have a lot more going on, as it is an election year, so we’re going to need more funding than we have in the past, certainly not a decrease,” CD president Laila Hasan said.
The Interfraternity Council also protested its funding. While the group was given a 40 percent increase in funds from last year, IFC claimed that it has become an umbrella organization and asked for more money.
The Senate later amended the bill to add $2,000 to the IFC budget, bringing the group’s total allocation to $13,000.
The Generic Theater Company asked for more funding after being told of a 71 percent decrease in allotments. The company, celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, was the only theater organization to get a cut.
“We had no idea why we got cut funding,” Generic member Janet Bowler said. The group’s budget was later amended to the give the group an extra $1,780, but members said it still was not enough.
The Muslim Student Association received an initial 17 percent decrease in funding but was later given an extra $330, bringing their budget to $5,000.
“This year we received $4,700, but in previous years we have never received less than $5,500, so this came as a really big shock to us,” said Ambareen Jan, president of the MSA. “Cutting our funds is cutting our events for the year.”
At the Senate’s meeting next week, senators need to decide where they will get the money to fund the five spending adjustments, which added up to $12,510.
SA officials said the money will either be subtracted from the budget or from the general remainder fund, a reserve amount of money for student organizations who have not yet filed a budget or submitted an incomplete request.