S&A budget falls short

Bailey Tomlinson, Staff Reporter

A motion was made at the Feb. 12 Services and Activities (S&A) committee meeting to cease consideration for all future supplemental funding requests until a decision could be made about how best to address a shortage of funds. The motion, proposed by Committee Parliamentarian Eric Bennett, was seconded by ASCWU Executive Vice President Alejandro Alcantar, but ultimately did not pass.

Before hearing requests for supplemental funding for the meeting, the floor was opened to committee members to discuss concerns about the current status of the budget. S&A Committee Chair Brandon Wear-Grimm suggested making a decision on whether or not to expand this year’s budget once all the funds had been allocated. Bennet raised concerns about having to turn requestors down during a period of decision making where funds may not be available. 

“Whatever we decide with the current requests, I think we need to end any future requests, because all it’s going to do is just make that pot of requests grow with no decision at the moment to increase the budget or not,” Bennett said during the meeting. “And I just think we should be fair to people that have not requested yet to say we aren’t taking anymore.”

Nicholas Tucker

Though concerns about the budget were voiced throughout the committee, the motion was met with resistance. Committee member Dane Gillin said in response to the motion that assessing the value of each request was inherent to the job of the committee.

“I think the question is: ‘do we make an adjustment to the budget?’” Gillin said. “I don’t think the question is: ‘do we stop all funding?’ I think that’s a little drastic.”

The committee budgeted $300,000 for supplemental funding this year and currently has around $26,000 left. 

S&A Fee Committee Advisor Joseph Bryant said supplemental funding is one time use, pulled from a reserve that doesn’t have an ongoing intake of money to replace what is taken. The committee’s budget comes from S&A fees applied to students at the beginning of the year, and unless enrollment is unexpectedly high, there is usually no extra money to put in the reserve.

“Right now what they have to do, and this is where you get the divergent viewpoints, is balancing the requests that we have now and the demands for the students right now bringing forward versus the longevity of being able to have supplemental [funds],” Bryant said.

Reaching the end of the budget is not an unusual circumstance for the committee, but members have spoken to it happening earlier this year than it has in years prior.

“We have been in this circumstance before, but it usually happens towards the end of spring quarter. So we are a little ahead of time than we normally have been,” Student Funds Financial Manager Lacy Lampkins said.

Lampkins speculates that the funds being spent so quickly may be due to new deadlines the committee has put in place for students and groups who want to be heard.

This year is the first year that submitting requests by a certain deadline ensures a place on the S&A docket. 

Law and Justice and Philosophy double major Mariah Hogan, who was one of the students requesting funds at the meeting, has requested supplemental funding for Mock Trial Club for the past two years. Hogan said she was unsurprised by the speed at which the committee is allocating funds, but she did feel as though the current system favors early requestors. Hogan said she felt as though requests made while funds are high needed less merit to be approved than those made when funds are lower.

“I felt bad, because I’m almost positive that if almost any of those clubs requested money … when the funds were higher I don’t think it would have really been a consideration for the board to approve them or not. I think they would have been approved.” Hogan said. 

Wear-Grimm wants to remain transparent with students on the status of the committee’s funds. He said he believes in the committee to find the best solution to this problem.

“I want all students to know that if they’re thinking about S&A funding that I hope that they see this and that they’re aware of the situation that the S&A supplemental budget’s in,” Wear-Grimm said. “Nothing’s for certain, but I want people to just be aware of this.”