Student Activities and Leadership Programs received a 16 percent increase in student-fees funding for next year, along with nearly $10,000 to fund the Greek Life program, last week. Student Activities and Leadership Programs (SALP) is the parent organization that oversees and advises most student groups.
Student Activities and Leadership Programs received a 16 percent increase in student-fees funding for next year, along with nearly $10,000 to fund the Greek Life program, last week.
Student Activities and Leadership Programs (SALP) is the parent organization that oversees and advises most student groups. SALP has been allocated $804,190 in student fees for the 2007-08 school year and was allocated $690,374 this year.
The money for next year will remain in a designated reserve until a student and staff board reviews and approves the SALP budget, according to Student Fee Committee stipulations.
The Student Fee Committee (SFC) oversees the distribution of roughly $10 million of student fees to athletics and student groups, including the Vanguard. The SFC zero-funded SALP during initial allocations because the program’s parent board, the SALP Advisory Board, did not meet to approve the SALP budget.
The SALP Advisory Board is made of three non-students and eight students, one student from each of the SALP clusters. The board provides student and staff with feedback about the program’s operations.
Tonantzin Oceguera, director of SALP, said the board did not form to give feedback on the budget because the Advisory Board guidelines no longer mandate that the board give feedback on the budget. The SALP Advisory Board has been inactive since June 2006.
The 2004-05 SALP Advisory Board bylaws included a section that required that the board review the SALP budget request before the SFC allocated funds. That requirement has been removed from the most recent version of the bylaws.
SFC guidelines require that groups applying for student fee funding have their budget approved by the group’s advisory board. In the case of SALP, the SFC guidelines would require that the SALP Advisory Board review the SALP budget before the SFC allocates funds.
The SFC guidelines state that a parent board should approve a budget “when applicable.”
“There’s an interpretation discrepancy,” Oceguera said of the Student Fee Committee’s guidelines. “They need to be clear about what criteria is used to make these decisions and they have to be equal across the board.”
SFC Chair Madeline Enos said the funds for SALP were placed in a reserve because the SFC did not think there was enough student feedback through the SALP Advisory Board.
The SFC also zero-funded student publications during initial allocations because the Publications Board did not review and approve the publications budget. Enos said the SFC used the same rationale in all of their decisions.
“It’s a complex issue,” Enos said. “Our hands were tied. Student organizations have to have a parent board’s approval. We were compelled by our guidelines.”
Oceguera said she has used the time that the board has been inactive to research a new model for the board to gather student feedback on SALP and the program’s budget. She and students have said the SALP Advisory Board is not working.
Oceguera said that the eight-person board does not provide enough student opinion.
“Student input is still really important,” Oceguera said. “We just have to find a mechanism that works. My approach is take the time now to really do research and then decide on an approach that’s going to work for the long run.”
Enos said she did not think SALP’s former model was effective in providing student input. She said she has mixed feelings over the current lack of an advisory board.
“I guess I was expecting that there would be a concerted effort in the event SALP’s budget gets put in reserve,” Enos said.
“I think it’s important that SALP’s budget is critiqued,” said student body President Courtney Morse. “Often student groups can’t perform their duties without advisory. It’s important to get student input before they get their funding.”
Oceguera said that SALP must have a feedback model that is sustainable beyond her tenure at PSU.
“Student attendance was inconsistent, and the board didn’t really have governing power,” she said. “There was nothing that made student feedback binding. You didn’t have to act on it. If we didn’t listen to what students are saying it would be irresponsible.”