Student groups may see cutbacks

The first round of student group 2005-06 budgets was allocated this week by the Student Fee Committee, with four of the first 39 groups receiving the full requested amount. Other groups received less than requested or were zero-funded due to various issues.

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.

Eight groups, including Campus Recreation, the newly implemented Queer Resource

Groups zero-funded by the SFC

SALP Requested: $700,403
Appealing for: $688,403

Campus Recreation Requested: $442,046
Appealing for: $414,075

The Vanguard Requested: $178,338
Appealing for: $162,512

Queer Resource Center Requested: $63,383
Appealing for: $25,309

Snowboarding Club Requested: $42,785
Appealing for: $0

Association of African Students Requested: $41,732
Appealing for: $0

MEChA Requested: $40,423
Appealing for: $0

Sailing Club Requested: $34,594
Appealing for: $0

Indian Student Association Requested: $25,663
Appealing for: $0

Dancers’ Club Requested: $12,468 Appealing for: $0

Center, the Vanguard and the Student Activities and Leadership office were initially allocated $0. Those groups will submit revised appeal budgets this week.

Student fee revenue for next year is projected at $7.2 million. A total of $9.1 million has been requested from the various student groups. Last year $7.6 million was allocated to groups, with about $8.9 million dollars in student fees requested. The fee committee is required to keep 7 percent of the projected budget in an emergency reserve and $75,000 for "unforeseen expenses," said Tracy Earll, Student Fee Committee chair.

A group can be zero-funded if, among other reasons, the fee committee feels there are too many items in their budget that need to be cut. "Sometimes there are [budget] line items that we can just cut, other times the request is just too large overall, and [the group] needs to decide which events are most crucial to the mission of their organization," said Earll. She cited as an example that some groups want to hold two major events when it is really only feasible to hold one.

"There is a philosophy of budgeting where [groups] ask for a lot more that [they] need." The committee recommends a budget to the zero-funded group, which can refigure its budget or accept the fee committee’s recommendation.

Several student groups, apparently confused by this process, were unaware that they had been zero-funded, mistaking the budget recommendation for what they had been allocated.

The Student Activities and Leadership (SALP) office was zero-funded because its budget was not approved by the SALP Advisory Board. Approval of its budget was on the advisory board’s agenda, Earll said, but not enough board members were present to approve it.

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.

The Women’s Resource Center was given $834 more than they requested because "they forgot to include custodial expenses," Earll said, something that the center is required to fund.

The Queer Resource Center, a new program meant to provide further support for PSU’s queer population, was zero-funded because the committee said the budget should be "more reflective of a new organization," said Morgan Stimson, a co-coordinator of Queers & Allies who helped write the center’s budget proposal. The Center’s initial request was for around $65,000, but the new proposal, he says, will be about $40,000 less.

"It’s disheartening," Stimson said.