ONLINE EXCLUSIVE BY JAKE BULLINGTON

Budgeting with a limited pool of funds resulted in across-the-board cuts for annually funded organizations for the ‘16-’17 academic year.

In response to this, UNITY Roundtable came to Student Senate this past week, presenting four demands, after receiving what they called unfair budget cuts. One of these requests was to receive 30 perecent of the budget. As of the current budget, UNITY is receiving 17 percent of the budget.

These limited funds come from low enrollment and the student activity fee not being raised since 2012.  The Student Fee Allocation Committee (SFAC) was tasked with cutting funding for every organization on campus. This became a bigger task than years past, with 13 student organizations coming to Senate with annual funding requests for the first time.

An example of a first-time annually funded organization is La Fuerza Latina, which also falls under the UNITY Roundtable umbrella. The organization came to SFAC with a request of $13,380.45. La Fuerza Latina was approved $6,470, or 48.35 percent of what the organization originally requested.  

The Coalition of Black Students, or CBS, requested $12,822.50, but were only approved for $7,482.50, or 58.35 percent of what the organization requested.

In addition to CBS, other organizations that are a part of UNITY also experienced cuts.

Chinese Students and Scholars Association, or CSSA, requested $7,090 and were approved for $3,715. This total was 52.40 percent of what CSSA requested initially. Representatives from CSSA also spoke on behalf of their organization at last Thursday’s Senate meeting, echoing many of the sentiments that Anthony Pawnell of CBS shared with Senate.

Malaysian Students’ Association, or MASA, requested $10,530 and were allocated $8,570, or 81.39 percent of what the group requested. This was less than what the group had hoped for this year. However, it totaled to over $300 more than what the group had received the previous year, a rarity considering the status of Senate’s funds.

SFAC grappled with $459,102.23 of annual funding requests presented to them last month, only tentatively approving $335,691.88. Just one year ago, for the ’15-’16 academic year, only $322,927.70 was approved. Senate cut the nearly $123,000 to where they are now at the $335,000+ number, which is still running a deficit on the Student Activities Fees fund.

In compliance with one of the demands that UNITY made, Senate has posted the numbers of the cuts with the proposed budgets on the Senate office door in Olmsted.

SFAC makes cuts, according to their bylaws, starting with violations, where Senate is bound by its policies to reject that funding, regardless of the student organization in question.

When creating a budget, there are 10 guidelines that must be followed in order to have all requests considered. If an organization violates one of these guidelines, that part of their budget will not be funded. For example, Senate cannot fund transportation costs to a conference unless the organization has attended it for two years and made an impact on campus with information from said conference. If an organization includes transportation in this regard in their annual budget, it will be denied.

Following cuts made from bylaw violations, SFAC takes a line-item by line-item approach to each organization’s request for annual funding. These cuts make up the rest of the money subtracted from each group’s request.

To read more about UNITY’s demands and Senate’s response, click here.