OSPIRG budget request denied

The Student Fee Committee made the decision to deny OSPIRG’s 2004-2005 funding request Tuesday, granting them a $33,765 budget instead of the $106,460 that the group asked for in their appeal.

“They only funded us enough to run campaigns for a month … I am really frustrated,” Reina Abolofia, vice chair of Portland State’s OSPIRG chapter, said. “I don’t think hunger or the problem of pollution in the Willamette River will be solved in a month.”

SFC Chair Tracy Earll explained that the SFC’s decision was based entirely on concerns regarding where requested funds would be spent. OSPIRG’s final budget request called for $40,000 to spend directly on the PSU campus, with $60,000 going to the state chapter, she said.

“Even the way the budget was presented, even during the appeal, where [OSPIRG] said, ‘Here are our on-campus costs and here are our state dues,’ the on-campus costs were still presented as the SFC sending a check off-campus, so it’s really confusing,” Earll said. “Is it really an on-campus internship program you want to fund, a PSU program? If so, why are we sending it away? Why aren’t we spending it here?”

Abolofia was surprised by the SFC decision, and expressed concern about the effects of the new budget on the success of PSU’s chapter of OSPIRG.

“I was expecting them to fund us,” she said. “Basically they wrote our budget for us. It’s insulting in a way.”

However, despite the reactions of OSPIRG members, Earll remained confident about the funding level of the group.

“We did not fulfill their request, no,” she said. “But we funded them for the things that they were requesting.”