Bringing out the checkbook

Student groups requested nearly 10 million from the Student Fee Committee as it began hearings Monday that will determine how millions in student fees will be spent next year.

The total amount groups requested is nearly $2 million more than approved by the committee in 2005 and a $600,000 increase over the 2004-05 initial requests.

The Student Fee Committee allocates millions of dollars in student fees to Portland State’s nearly 100 student groups, including athletics and the Vanguard. In the budgeting process, the student groups propose individual budgets to the fee committee.

The fee committee then deliberates the budget proposal and grants the group a budget. Once the committee grants a budget, the group can appeal the decision if they are unsatisfied with the amount of money they receive.

After the hearings and deliberations, the fee committee determines the necessary student fee level required to fund the total budget. The budget is then submitted to the student senate for approval.

One the most hotly debated student group budget last year was OSPIRG, which received a sum far less than the $125,135 they requested because of a concern that the group was not spending the money on campus.

Members of OSPIRG accused the fee committee of considering their budget request in a biased manner. They said the $46,803 they received was not enough to sustain the group because they would be unable to pay dues to the state chapter.

OSPIRG has been funded at considerably less than requested for the past three years.

OSPIRG campus organizer Meredith Small said that this year the group is hopeful that they will receive the amount of funding they requested. They have requested $124, 507.

With last year’s budget, Small said, they group was able to add an additional campaign, but “we’re nowhere near where we would be with full funding concerning the number and quality of campaigns.”

The College Republicans and Campus Crusade for Christ have requested funds for the first time this year. Previously, religious and political groups were not allowed to request funding because of concern that a public institution should not fund groups espousing political or religious views.

Initial budget hearings will continue until Jan. 18. Deliberations for the first group of students will begin Thursday and Friday, and initial budget allocations will be given on Monday, Jan. 17.

After groups have a chance to appeal, the fee committee will give final allocations Jan. 20.