Last week, the Students’ Association Senate approved its first SA budget since last year’s plan to improve the SA group system. Under the plan, SA funded groups are expected to adhere to eight principles of funding and required to document the year’s activities for the Students’ Association Appropriations Committee.
SAAC appropriately allowed SA groups one year to adjust to these principles. In the coming year, groups should have a better understanding of the new budgeting process.
SAAC budgeting was more structured this year, as opposed to the arbitrary budget cuts from years past that had little basis on the groups’ performance. This new plan demonstrates how both groups and SAAC benefit from a balance of autonomy and oversight. This year, troubled groups were placed on probation, demonstrating that the new principles are not intended to completely de-fund groups.
During budgeting, it was recommended that SAAC cut funding from groups such as UR Concerts and the Campus Activities Board in favor of increasing the supplemental fund. These recommendations exemplify a working budgeting system. Groups are subject to losing funding based on lack of performance, but now are given the reasoning behind the cut as well as the incentive to improve.
Cutting in funding is the most direct way to penalize groups that are lacking in particular areas. If money is taken away, the same group that lost funding can apply for additional funding from the supplemental fund. These groups should view the new review process as a means to continually improve. In the same way, groups who improve in one or more of the eight areas should be rewarded. This new system will ensure a greater sense of community, since groups’ funding will be tied to how much they give back to the student body.