Student Association senate approves student organization funding budget

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Melissa Schapiro.

The recently sworn-in Student Association senate passed a budget to fund student organizations for the next academic year Friday night, overriding former SA President Nick Gumas’ veto of the same budget earlier in the week.

Gumas said he would veto the budget on Monday because he believed many student organizations, including Students Against Sexual Assault and the Progressive Student Union, did not receive enough funding. Student organization leaders whose groups had received less funding than they requested made pleas asking for a reevaluation of the budget, but were denied.

Some organizations, such as the National Council for Negro Women, received less than half of the funding they’d requested for the upcoming school year. Victoria Goncalves, incoming president of the Organization of Latino American Students and a former SA senator, called the lack of funding for cultural groups an “institutional problem.”

“We’re going to promote diversity and inclusion in these communities, but we’re not going to support them. We’re just going to tokenize them,” she said.

While most SA senators said the proposed budget has several weaknesses, nearly all senators who spoke said that it was better than not passing a budget and leaving student organizations without funding until October.

SA President Andie Dowd addressed the senate and said with incoming freshmen arriving in the fall, there needs to be a budget in place to fund events welcoming them to campus.

“There is room for improvement and we plan to work with organizations to make a better system,” she said.

Sen. Sean Kumnick, U-At Large, said that senators have had to “eat a shit sandwich” because of how tedious the process of making and approving a budget was this year.

“We have a problem that should’ve been fixed a while ago, and we have to deal with it now,” he said.

He added that student organizations who think they didn’t get enough funding can also apply for co-sponsorships with the SA to fund programming.

Nancy Mannebach, chair of the finance committee, said problems with the budget proposal could have been addressed in January or February if student organizations had proposed their budgets or approached SA senators earlier.

“This is not Monopoly money,” she said. “It’s real money that GW has entrusted to us and we need to use our best judgement.”

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