SGA passed its budget recommendations for the next fiscal year with little resistance on Monday, despite an impassioned plea from the Fashion Club and a long statement from the Student Activities Council (SAC), which detailed how a $14,000 cut in their budget would negatively affect them.
Few clubs tried to make a case in appeal for more money from SGA. Fashion Club, which was seeing a $70 cut despite a large increase in participants, attempted to receive a bump from $700 to $1000. Debate Club asked for an extra $45, from $305 to $350. Both clubs were making these pleas, hoping to have enough money to have enough resources to put on events and draw more students into the clubs.
SAC, despite their long statements regarding how the budget cuts would affect them, made no mistake about trying to get more money. Shannon Esposito stepped aside from her SGA role for a moment to be a part of SAC’s address to student government.
“The SAC you know and love is going to have to change next year,” Esposito said.
Events such as Barn Babies, SAC carnivals and visiting comedians will have to be cut down drastically, if not cut entirely.
Beyond that however, the clubs at the meeting seemed to be fairly pleased with their budgets. Only seven clubs received cuts, including SAC, Black Student Union and the Latin American Society. More clubs than not also got raises in their budgets.
Immediately after SGA passed the budget for next year, Sen. A.J. Cote made a motion to move $18,853 from SGA’s reserve budget to the supplemental budget. The intended effect of the bill was to give clubs lacking sufficient budgets to receive emergency funds in case they attempt to undertake new initiatives. Cote introduced the motion “in order to provide a sufficient safety net.”
Sen. La’Juan Allen seconded the initial motion, which sparked a lengthy, heated debate among senators and students in the gallery.
“I feel like this is a time clubs are most vulnerable,” said Allen. “This is a good safety net for clubs.”
Allen argued that the reserve budget was meant to help in situations such as this – enrollment is down, he said, and clubs need all the money they can to draw what students the school has into club participation.
Parliamentarian Jess Lovellette, Trustee Brianna O’Rourke and Senators Declan Nolan and Jake Vitali all spoke up, as they believed the total number itself was bigger than necessary. Lovellette pointed out that the supplemental budget as is is rarely drained.
“I do know this is a drastic number, especially because the supplemental budget isn’t running out of money,” Vitali said.
Vitali and Allen both added “friendly amendments” to the initial motion after a discussion about the benefits of adding the money to the operational budget versus adding it to the supplemental budget. Money added to the supplemental budget is only meant for emergency situations and new initiatives from clubs, whereas money in the operating budget could be used by SGA to help co-sponsor events with clubs – which sometimes is as little as offering up money for an event and putting their name on a flyer.
The final motion ended up adding $10,000 to the supplemental budget, and the other $8,853 to the operating budget.
The vote didn’t happen until around 9:30 p.m., where it was passed with a small majority of student representatives passed the initiative. Abanoz and Nolan were two Senators who voted no. Cote, Allen, and Senators Adazae Shepherd-Edwards and Avery Woodbury voted yes.