The Students’ Association Senate continued preparations for next academic year at their meeting on Monday night. Approval of next year’s budget was their most pressing issue.
“This new budget is completely balanced,” Students’ Association Appropriation Committee Treasurer Brian Metro said.
SAAC estimates that 3,650 students will be paying the $217 student activity fee, next year. Next year’s $747,630 budget will be divided among the broad umbrellas of programming, intercollegiate sports, governing, publication, issues awareness, performance, cultural and other groups.
In addition, money is set aside in a supplemental fund and in a reserve fund.
The reserve fund is for emergencies and big projects. The supplemental fund is a cache of money that provides student groups with extra money to fund events.
Much of the meeting’s debate focused on if, and how, the senate should cut a group’s budget in order to bring the supplemental account from $20,000 to $25,000. Some senators argued in favor of cutting MERT’s funding. They believed that emergency services should be funded by students’ tuition as opposed to their student activity fee. Ultimately, MERT’s funding was not cut.
“We can’t cut MERT unless we have something to replace it [with],” SA Senator and junior Tyson Ford said.
Senators also considered cutting funding from UR Concerts and the Outside Speakers Committee.
“Concerts and Outside Speakers have not performed up to par this past year,” SA Senator and senior Jack Voorhees said.
Others argued that cutting funds from such a group would prevent them from improving their events. “In order to have bigger [events], you need to have more money,” SA President and senior Pete Nabozny said.
It was suggested that the university could subsidize some of the OSC events, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who appealed to members outside of the UR community. Some feared, however, that this would impede students’ ability to plan these events.
In another attempt to move money away from specific groups and into the supplemental fund, a motion was made to cut $5,000 from the Campus Activities Board’s budget. Next year’s budget allotted CAB an 18 percent increase. This year, CAB has funded events such as Capitol Steps, Dennis Miller, the Boar’s Head Dinner, Winterfest comedian Mo Rocca and Mondays Suck. Later this year, they will be running Dandelion Day.
Some senators felt that by giving the money to CAB, it was preventing other groups from accessing it. “We should not lock the money up. We should put it up for grabs,” senator and sophomore Robert Cavanaugh said. CAB is allowed to, and has, in the past applied for supplemental funds.
SA Senator and junior Gordon Arsenoff suggested cutting $1,334 each from CAB, UR Concerts and OSC.
“We have five elected senators who serve on SAAC,” Deputy Speaker of the Senate and senior Becca Wolfson said. “They made the decision to cut the supplemental fund. We know from past experience that it can be expanded if a lot of events are put on. It is unfair to cut CAB – they are one of the few groups who have polled students and should be rewarded.”
The motion to cut $5,000 from CAB’s budget failed with four in favor, eight opposed and one abstention.
“Taking [the money] off of CAB is completely unfair,” Ford said.
Ultimately, the budget was approved with nine in favor, one opposed and three abstaining.
Next week, the senate will select its Speaker and Deputy Speaker. Last week, senators voted in favor of having the outgoing senate elect the incoming Speaker and Deputy Speaker.
“I encourage anyone interested in the position to run,” Speaker of the Senate and senior Tom Hayes said. “It is open to the entire student body, and it is a great way for people to get involved on campus.”
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