Recently, the Students’ Association Appropriations Committee gave the debate team an additional $2,600 to cover the extra costs they have accrued this year, due to both their increased numbers and the possible chance to achieve a national championship. The decision was the correct one in the context of the situation. However, this decision did not come without a fight that exposed some of the weaknesses in the current system of budgeting in the Students’ Assocation.
In order to prevent more harried situations, several changes should be made in order to help deal with possible problems in the future. First, the amount of funds in the supplemental account should be increased by $5,000 a semester in order to provide some additional funding for special circumstances.
Due to large expenditures in the beginning of the semester, the supplemental account was drained of its funds, but it is possible that similar situations could arise in the future. An increase in the account would help provide some security to unexpected situations such as larger membership numbers or unexpected events.
Poor fiscal planning was also an issue, as partial funding by members of the debate team who traveled to a debate camp this summer would have alleviated the need for the money. But this would not have solved the problem of what a group does when their popularity exceeds their expectations during the budgeting process.
Increasing the supplemental fund available to groups that find themself in unusual situations, while promoting proper fiscal planning, is only part of the solution.
Another aspect that became clear from this process is that all senators, as representatives of the student body, need to attend SAAC meetings religiously. In order to make more sound and accurate decisions regarding financial matters, a greater knowledge of the financial state of the SA is required. It makes little sense to have a body with the authority to overturn SAAC decisions, but without the knowledge to do so.