After an unscheduled hiatus that lasted several weeks, the Students’ Association Senate is back at work. Following last week’s successful elections, the Senate began to tackle some of the remaining issues for this year, including budgeting, at Monday’s usual meeting.

“The Senate’s back in business – finally!” Deputy Speaker of the Senate Steve Duszlak exclaimed when he began his comments. Fellow senators applauded Duszlak’s comment.

Some of the discussion at the meeting dealt with the final budgeting process, which is particularly difficult this year because the college did not approve next year’s proposed student activities fee increase.

The Student Activities Appropriations Committee is going through each group’s budget again to see what else can be cut. “It’s going to be really tight,” SAAC Treasurer and sophomore Carolyn Kaminski said.”We have already cut everything that was extra, now we are going through again.”

“We went through the budgets trying to make fair and consistent adjustments so we would have an overall balanced budget,” Kamisnki said. “We tried to make adjustments that would not go against the groups’ central missions.”

While disagreeing with Dean Green’s decision, SA President and senior Lonny Mallach said that he is understanding and perhaps would make the same decision. “Although we have had to make substantial cuts, we are still funding approximately $650,000 in student activities,” Mallach said.

“The cuts are being made in a way so that they are distributed throughout groups and the smallest impact possible is felt by students.”

Speaker of the Senate and Take Five Scholar Ashley Conner supports Dean Green’s decision even though budget cuts will ensue. “The impact of Dean’s Green decision is pretty powerful,” Conner said. “With the anticipated budget increase we would not have been forced to make such drastic cuts to the submitted budgets, and we would not be considering a suspension of the supplemental account for next year.” As a result of the Senate’s new Group Advocacy System, the Senate will have a greater knowledge as to what each groups’ budgetary needs are. “While there are many budget cuts needed. The cuts made this year will be done with more feedback and activity informationfrom SA groups than any other year that I can remember,” SA Policy Chair and junior Lucas McCarthy said. “Each SA-funded group will be receiving an invitation to come to the final budgeting meeting on April 24 at 9 p.m. in the Gowen Room in order to defend any possible cuts that were made or could possibly be made.”

Surveys were given to senators to fill out following upcoming meetings with their respective student groups. Once the budget is finalized by SAAC and approved by the Senate, they will inform student groups of the budget cuts.

Several active members of the SA government believe the budget constraint will serve as a wake up call to the government to act more effectively for the students and their groups.

“I’m hoping that [the cuts] will finally demonstrate the need to move beyond the petty jockeying for power and positions that now characterizes our government,” Conner said. “If this has done anything, it has shown to us that the most important issue – the well-being of student groups – is often overshadowed by childish antics.” “I hope that members of the SA government will realize a problem exists and deal with it,” Mallach said. “The SA government needs to realize that we have problems, and as long as those problems exist, we will lack a certain degree of credibility with the administration.”

Keesing can be reached at jkeesing@campustimes.org.



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