After discussing the recommended Activity and Service (A&S) fee allocations for the 2013-14 fiscal year, the Student Government Senate will vote on the $14.1 million proposal next week.
The proposal, based on projections of $12.9 million in incoming A&S revenues and roll-over funds from the current fiscal year, is similar to last year’s $13.6 million allocation, with the main changes coming in the form of increases to Student Affairs programs and services and decreases to student organizations.
Each student pays a $7 flat fee and, after the Board of Trustees approved a 37-cent increase this month, $12.08 per credit hour toward the A&S pool, which Florida statutes state must be used toward “lawful purposes to benefit the student body in general.”
Throughout the discussion, several clarification questions arose.
Cha-Kara Parkman-Wimberly, a senator from the College of Public Health, questioned why some numbers were being repeated multiple times and why the same slides were repeated.
Jean Cocco, a senator from the College of Arts and Sciences, said it was important for the Senate to spend time discussing the bill.
“The reason why we’re going through this now is because I want to make sure, and I’m sure we all want to make sure we all understand what exactly this $14 million (is going to),” he said. “It’s laborious, it’s boring, it’s numbers, we hate it. But at the end of the day, it’s over 40,000 students-worth of money we’re voting on. We’re stewards of the students’ money, so let’s take our time with this.”
The proposal, drafted by the Activities and Service fee Recommendation Committee (ASRC) which convened in September and began discussing the budget this January, will be signed by Senate president Jeff Gao and Student Body president Brian Goff if it passes next week.
The following are the main areas of change in the 2013-14 proposed allocations, all pending next week’s vote:
Dean for Students Office:
The proposed budget will allocate $371,316 to the office of the Dean for Students to fund payroll and programming — an office previously funded by Educational and General (E&G) revenue state funds.
Gao said the ASRC committee debated for some time over whether replacing E&G funds with A&S funds was a viable source of revenue, but also considered what would happen if the university could not find funds for the office.
“The Dean for Students essentially provides services to all students,” he said. “Individuals and groups of students.”
Student Employment in Student Affairs
Student Disabilities Services, which received no A&S funds last year, has been allocated $21,109 to fund one graduate assistant position, Gao said.
The Marshall Student Center’s proposed allocation increased to $2,761,034 from last year’s $2,697,519 and the Campus Recreation’s allocation increased to $2,658,647 from last year’s $2,553,336 as a result of minimum wage and standard of living increases, Gao said.
A&S Business Office
The A&S Business office has been allocated $535,127 compared to last year’s $496,310 to add a new position to the staff.
SAFE team, a golf-cart escort service for students getting across campus at night, will receive $447,291, or $15,159 more than last year in order to purchase new radios. Gao said ASRC also debated renewing SAFE team’s $25,000 contract with University Police that he said provides them with an increased degree of accountability in providing training, drug testing and oversight for employees.
SG Computer Services received an increase of $20,437 to $164,406 for increased equipment and printing services.
Bulls Radio received a $42,939 cut as the SG decided to cut the station’s news department. Gao said the decision to cut the department was based on a lack of available funds.
Special Projects and Signature Events
The Special Projects account, used to fund events such as Mr. and Miss USF, the USA Today readership program and free printing, received a reduced allocation of $608,917, compared to last year’s $613,814. However, $21,200 was moved into interim accounts, Gao said, for Signature Event grants. 12