In a nearly unanimous vote of 30-0-1, Student Government (SG) passed the student-paid Activity and Service (A&S) fee budget bill last night with no amendments and few questions. However, questions should be asked not only of the allocations, but also the amount of money that SG allocates in the first place.
With a budget of $13,595,429, SG is left with the power to determine where students’ A&S fees go – a large amount of money for 31 college students to decide and an excessive budget considering the budget cuts that will be occurring across campus if Gov. Rick Scott signs the budget bill.
SG made a decision in the interest of their employees to switch to a standardized payroll, but the rest of the budget focuses on practically needless expenditures rather than the tightening-of-the-belt method that will surely be seen in USF’s overall budget.
While Bulls Radio and SAFE Team have received increases to hire new personnel and continue developing, it is unclear how many people the organizations plan to hire and if any of the spending will benefit he students the money is taken from.
And even though SG is not sure if the Florida Student Association (FSA) will host “Rally in Tally” this year, an annual event for students from several universities in the State University System to lobby in Tallahassee, they have allocated $10,600 for the FSA membership fee. A membership may mean very little since the FSA may soon lose its spot on the Board of Governors.
SG has also allocated $74,200 to host USF Day at the Capitol, a similar event, and to hire a political consultant to attract legislators. SG has yet to reveal if this is an annual or full-time position and how much money is being used to pay the consultant.
If the association chooses to hold another Rally in Tally, it is excessive in today’s tight economy to both attend the rally and host the Day at the Capitol, especially because students seemed less than enthusiastic about this year’s event. Additionally, as a vehicle for students to protest budget cuts, it is hypocritical to be spending money so frivolously.
While the SG senators commended the A&S Recommendation Committee for doing a good job with the budget, the results will pan out next year as students may be forced to watch programs cut while SG agencies receive new websites and more Homecoming decorations.
Rather than spend exorbitant amounts of money on student activities, it would be wise to put money aside to help programs stay afloat, or better yet allocate money to scholarships to do what SG should be doing – helping students.