Bulk of SA money headed to graduate organizations

The Student Association is expected to disburse a quarter-million dollars among about 200 student organizations Tuesday, but three graduate student organizations are slated to receive about 40 percent of that money.

The Graduate School of Education and Human Development Student Association, the Student Bar Association and the Medical Center Student Council are expected to receive a total of $104,000.

SA Senators will vote Tuesday on this year’s allocations bill and is slated to give $15,000 to GSEHD-SA, an organization formed this year. A database analysis of 19 years of SA allocations by The Hatchet showed this figure is six times the largest sum of money any student organization has ever obtained on its first allocation from the SA.

“They contribute to the student fee and (the graduate students) are still not getting their money’s worth,” said SA Sen. Matt Cohen (SoB-U), a senior and chair of the finance committee. “They still put into the system and should respectfully receive.”

The three associations are classified as umbrella organizations and support several other groups with their funds. The SA recognizes five other umbrella organizations, including the Inter-Fraternity Council, Pan-Hellenic Association and Jewish Student Association among others. Those umbrella organizations are set to receive an average of $6,720 this year. None is expected to recieve more than $12,000. This year’s expected allocations are from a bill passed through the finance committee obtained by The Hatchet.

Andrew Salzman, a graduate student in GSEHD and longtime member of the SA, said it is important to adequately fund these organizations because they are the only student groups most graduate students will join.

“Unfortunately, the graduate students are relatively more insular,” Salzman said. “They are not going to participate in the big events going on or the things happening during the day.”

The Law School has only 1,500 full-time students, but this year the SA is slated to allocate $50,000 to the Student Bar Association, an increase of $5,000 from last year and the largest sum of money the SA is expected to give any student organization this year.

Cohen said the Law School has threatened to withhold its student fee from the SA if its needs are not met.

“The (law students) are some of the highest contributors to the student fee,” Cohen said. “The Law School makes a big deal about getting back a significant portion of what they put into the system because they feel that their programs warrant that.”

A Sen. Bryan Mechell (G-At Large), a law student, said there are more than 50 student organizations that are supported by the SBA and it deserves the amount of money it is set to receive.

“As an umbrella student organization, it is the most cohesive and one of the longest running student organizations on campus,” Mechell said. “In the past four years, it has been ranked as the best SBA in the country. We rank on the national level and we are recognized.”

Mechell said the SBA does not usually ask the SA for additional money beyond its initial allocation to fund its events.

Cohen said the SBA and similar umbrella organizations are responsible with disbursement of their funds and have used its money appropriately in the past.

Cohen said, “initial allocations often end up in the wash with the exception of the big groups like the (College Democrats and College Republicans) and the umbrella organizations who actually put the money towards programming.”

For more statistics, see our blog post.

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