SALP clashes over budget control at SFC hearing

Several big-budget groups reduced their requests for funding to the Student Fee Committee in the second day of budget appeal hearings Tuesday, including Campus Recreation and the Student Activities and Leadership Program (SALP), the administrative office that oversees all of the student groups that receive the fees.

In the budgeting process, the fee committee deliberates a budget proposal submitted by each group. Once the committee grants a budget based on the proposal, the group has the option to appeal the decision. Appeal hearings continue through Thursday, and the committee is scheduled to submit a final budget allocation for all student groups to the student senate Feb. 17.

The Student Activities and Leadership Program, which includes student group advisors and administrative staff, was initially allocated $0 of the $700,403 they requested because their advisory board had not first approved it. They are appealing for $688,403.

At a Jan. 1 advisory board meeting, board members discussed whether or not the advisory board is a governing body with the authority to approve or reject SALP’s budget.

According to SALP advisory board committee chair Cassidy Blackburn, the second article in what SALP offers as its "constitution," states that "Final decisions on policy and/or procedure changes that directly affect student groups will be made by the SALP Advisory Board," which indicates that the advisory board has the authority to make budget decisions.

"The intent of this board was always meant to be advisory," SALP director Tonantzin Oceguera said at the meeting, "[SALP] operates under the direction of a director."

The language of the "constitution" has since been changed to "Decisions on policy and/or procedure changes that directly affect student groups will be made with endorsement of the SALP Advisory Board."

At the budget appeal hearing, Oceguera told the Student Fee Committee that the budget was approved by four votes via email meeting.

"We’ll have to decide whether we’ve received sufficient proof of approval," Student Fee Committee Chair Tracy Earll told the fee committee members.

This is the first year in which groups with boards similar to SALP’s must submit proof that their budgets have been approved by their boards. Proof must be submitted in the form of meeting minutes or a letter from the board chair.

In the past, groups like SALP that have failed to obtain budgetary approval from their boards have had a footnote added to their approved budget suggesting that they obtain it in the future.

MEChA shaved its budget from the requested $40,423 to $29,589. The group had originally asked for an increase over their last year’s $25,000 to fund projects such as a co-sponsorship of the Northwest Leadership Conference and a program to encourage Latino high school students to attend college. They were initially allocated $0 because the committee felt that the funding should stay on campus.

Indian Student Association Treasurer Narendoa Metta asked the committee to allow for money for additional stipends and to rent DJ equipment for their annual event on the Portland Spirit.

The latter request was denied in the initial allocation hearing, along with money for T-shirts. The Indian Student Association requested $25,663 and was allocated $0 with a recommendation of $12,000. They are appealing for $14,971.

The stipend portion of the Rearguard’s budget was allocated $0 for "using what the committee called ‘inaccurate stipend numbers,’" Publications adviser Judson Randall said.

The Rearguard based the wages in their initial budget request on a tiered pay system that was included in the online SALP Policy manual. However, the pay system in the online manual was in error, according to fee committee members.