MVPC alleges Vern is underfunded

Student members of a Mount Vernon Campus programming organization are alleging that they do not have adequate funding for student events, after the Vern saw an uptick in the number of residents living on the campus.

Sophomore Josh Bochner, assistant coordinator for the Mount Vernon Programming Council, said the organization was given “significantly less” University funding than last year, even as the 287-bed West Hall residence hall opened this fall.

Mount Vernon Programming Council is a student-run organization similar to Program Board that hosts a number of events, including performances, film series and the annual Fountain Fling, which previously featured bands State Radio and Spoon.

Bochner said Mount Vernon Programming Council sponsored an event nearly every week last year, but this year the organization has only been able to host nine, amounting to one every three weeks.

Dean of Students Peter Konwerski said funding for student activities on the Mount Vernon Campus has not been cut, but rather was not increased along with the number of students residing on the campus.

“As a result, the ratio of budgetary dollars allocated to program for students has decreased, which has caused us to be more creative and collaborative in our programming efforts, while still attempting to create a vibrant campus community on the Vern,” Konwerski said.

Both University and Bochner declined to say how much money the organization received this year.

Konwerski said University leadership monitors budgets and addresses funding requests for programming ideas from Vern students and staff

“Obviously there’s another side to what the University is saying,” said Bochner. “If there’s an increase in students living on campus but no increase in funding for student life, it doesn’t make sense.”

Bochner and Jason Gamache, the finance chair for Mount Vernon Programming Council, said they reached out to Konwerski and University President Steven Knapp to address what Bochner calls “the lack of an appropriate budget.”

Bochner said Knapp was unaware of the funding issue at first, but agreed to initiate a budget analysis with the senior vice presidents to try to resolve the issue. Bochner said he has yet to hear a response.

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