Student groups make final pleas for funding

The first round of student groups made their final cases for funding as the Student Fee Committee appeals process began Monday.

Student groups received initial funding allocations from the committee in late January and early February. Many of the more than 80 groups received far less than requested, prompting them to plead their case for more funding during the appeals process this week.

A projected $7.2 million is available for student fee-funded student groups and athletics in the 2005-06 school year. 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.

The appeals hearings are student groups’ last chance to plead their case for funding before the Student Fee Committee proposes a final budget allocation for each group for the year.

Among the groups appealing Monday were The Spectator, PSU’s magazine of conservative political commentary; the United Indian Students for Higher Education (UISHE), a Native American multicultural group; and the Vanguard.

The Student Fee Committee will continue to hear appeals through Thursday evening.

UISHE’s appeal hearing drew a crowd of dozens of students and supporters from the community and the testimony grew emotional. Though UISHE was initially given $38,000 of the $45,000 they requested, the group was concerned that this was not enough.

"We can survive on the [initial request]," Gayleen Adams told the committee, but the cutback would force the group to cut back on the several popular pow-wows they cosponsor with community members each year.

The American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) seemed frustrated with the process of appeal. Only the expenditures services and supplies section of their budget was funded at $0. They had requested $17,617 and received a recommendation of $10,000.

"We were a little bit confused," co-president Jade Unger told the committee, "We were so busy trying to make the $10,000 mark, which was arbitrarily set, that we cut things out that we needed."

The group was also unsure if they could request more than the allotted $10,000.

"If you make some huge case tonight that blows us away, then yes, that number can be changed," said Tracy Earll, Student Fee Committee chair. After shaving several line items, they brought their requested amount down to just below $14,000.

The Snowboarding Club, a group that had been initially funded at $0, failed to show for their appeal. In these cases, "they might get their initial allocation, but it’s not guaranteed," said Dean of Students Wendy Endress.

The Spectator was initially funded at $0 for not submitting their budget on time to receive an initial allocation. Spectator Editor Shah Smith did not attend the fee committee’s annual budget training because he was named editor after it occurred. Because of this, the Spectator budget was excluded from the initial budget hearings, making the appeals process the first time that the publication’s budget request was heard.

The Vanguard, also among the groups initially funded at $0, told the committee that the expectations for ad revenue had been set far too high. The committee asked the Vanguard to set their projected ad revenues at $180,000, though the group has not made more than $165,000 in previous years. Vanguard Editor Christian Gaston offered to set the paper’s revenue projection at $160,000.

The committee’s proposed final allocations will be released Feb. 17. The proposal will then be voted on by the student senate and then submitted to university President Daniel Bernstine for final approval.