A&S funds decrease
With Activity and Service (A&S) fee allocations for 2009-2010 cut by $1,196,741.20, some organizations and student services are facing major budgetary cutbacks.
Campus Activities Board (CAB), an organization responsible for on-campus events including Movies on the Lawn, Bulls Night Out and Patio Tuesdays, had a budget of $413,874 last year. This year it will be allocated only $286,273.81 — a change of $127,600.19.
The organization has not made any final decisions about possible cutbacks, but Cindy Greenwood, assistant director of the Office of Student Programs, said there was an idea about what would change.
Greenwood said for the 2009-2010 school year, CAB would likely present one movie every two weeks, a cutback that was made last year, from one movie per week.
Bulls Night Out, a variety event held twice each semester, could be reduced to once per semester, she said, and Patio Tuesdays, a showcase event at the MLK Plaza, would occur every other month instead of each month.
The Center for Student Involvement, which used to supervise Bulls Night Out, saw a decrease of approximately $72,397 this year.
“We’ve moved some of those expenses to the orientation program itself … Because all the budget requests needed to be reduced, we asked Orientation to pick up some of those expenses,” said Tracy Tyree, assistant dean of Student Affairs.
All other CAB specialty events will likely be eliminated or greatly reduced, she said.
“If we have a fall concert, then it will be on a much smaller scale,” Greenwood said. “We wouldn’t do a spring comedy show, probably. If we did, it would be much smaller.”
Glen Besterfield, director of Undergraduate Studies, said earlier this month that the University plans to increase the number of freshmen beginning classes during the summer, and a special summer edition of Movies on the Lawn or Bulls Night Out could be held to help the new students adjust to campus life.
CAB will work with other organizations on campus to produce one event per week in the Summer B semester, Greenwood said.
The Homecoming Steering Committee has not yet made official decisions regarding its budget, Greenwood said.
Last year’s $459,120 allocation for the committee was reduced by almost half for 2009, dropping to $238,942.30.
Greenwood said the committee will meet within the next few weeks to determine which homecoming events could be eliminated, if any.
“We are looking at whether it still makes sense to do Homecoming Week with events every single day of the week, or if we should condense that to four days and spend Monday pumping up the campus about Homecoming,” she said.
The Homecoming committee may also pass on full sponsorship for the Homecoming football tailgate to WBUL, Greenwood said. In the past, the tailgate has been sponsored by both WBUL and the committee.
Stampede, the Homecoming comedy show, will be either eliminated or greatly reduced.
“We are looking at creative options for incorporating the comedy show into Homecoming Week,” Greenwood said. “We may be moving it to the Marshall Student Center (MSC) and doing a variety of things, rather than just one big comedy show.”
She said it would be much more economical to use MSC facilities instead of the Sun Dome, where the event is usually held.
Like the Homecoming committee, the University Lecture Series (ULS) plans to move its large events from the Sun Dome to the MSC to save money. The MSC Ballroom will be used for more well-known speakers, and a live feed to the Oval Theatre will allow for overflow seating.
“We tried this out already when Bill Nye the Science Guy spoke this semester,” Greenwood said.
Budget cuts for ULS, which brings celebrity speakers to USF, would likely change the structure of the series and reduce the amount of speakers to three to four each semester.
“We are taking it as the chance to look at it as quality over quantity,” Greenwood said.
ULS received $352,570.92 last year but saw a cut of almost $135,000 for 2009-2010, leaving it with $217,582.
Student staffs for these organizations will also be reduced to save money, Greenwood said.
CAB will reduce its staff to stay within budget, going from nine student advisors to eight in the fall.
The Homecoming committee staff will also be reduced, from 11 students on the board in 2008 to nine for 2009.
In the past, ULS has hired three student directors who worked 10 hours per week, but next year four students will work seven and a half hours a week, Greenwood said.
Despite cuts in A&S fee allocations, Greenwood said the organizations are still well funded.
“This is less money than in the past, but they are still good-sized budgets,” she said. “A lot of schools don’t have this kind of money to program,” she said.
Several student services also saw significant A&S fee allocation cuts.
Students with Disabilities Services (SDS), which received $17,128.54 in A&S fees for 2008-2009, will not receive any money this year because it was unable to turn in the proposal for funds so it did not request any money.
“In our proviso we have a budget deadline, and if they do not submit a budget by that deadline then they do not get considered,” said Ralph Reid, Activity and Service Recommendation Committee chairman. “We have a deadline for student organizations and Student Affairs has one as well.”
Reid said SDS can request funds from the interim account, which holds money available during semesters, once the fiscal year starts.
“It is unfortunate that they didn’t submit a budget, but we have those hard budget deadlines and we hold everyone firm to them,” Reid said. “It wouldn’t be fair to make an exception for one organization over a student organization that may have missed the deadline.”
McCarthy said SDS was not prepared to make a request.
“At the time the budget proposals were due, there was no director,” said Deb McCarthy, director of SDS.
Last year, SDS put A&S fees toward accommodation services for students, mostly for deaf or hard of hearing students, such as closed-captioning services, she said.
McCarthy said she was unsure if the lack of A&S fees would hurt SDS and that as the new director, she has not yet had time to address the issue.
“It’s something that, as a director, I am aware the money is not available,” she said.
Funding for SDS comes from student A&S fees and state E&G funds.
The Counseling Center also requested no money this year after receiving $50,000 last year.
“Historically the Counseling Center has never received A&S funding except for Veterans Services, which is a separate entity,” said Dale Hicks, director of the center.
Last year, he said, SG realized that the Counseling Center needed funding to hire part-time staff psychologists to fill a gap until full-time employees were hired. The funding was a temporary, one-year allocation.
“It was stopgap funding to help us serve students better,” he said.
Since then, he said, the center has hired full-time staff, so it does not need a similar A&S fee allocation this year.
Some student centers are experiencing changes in both funding and staff.
The Center for Civic Engagement and Volunteerism and the Center for Student Leadership Development merged in August 2008 to create the Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement (CLCE). Last week, Student Government allocated $301,206 of A&S fees to the new center for the 2009-2010 school year.
CLCE will receive an increase of approximately $33,507 from last year, when funding for the centers was allocated separately. The extra money will fund a new position at the center, said Tracy Tyree, associate vice president of Student Affairs.
Dawn Fischer, administrative specialist, was moved from the Center of Student Involvement to the CLCE because the department lacked that position.
The two centers were merged because both were moved into the new Marshall Student Center.
“It was fortunate, honestly, that the Center for Student Leadership Development and Center for Civic Engagement and Volunteerism were already slated to be on the same floor so we didn’t have to relocate to integrate those two departments,” Tyree said.
CLCE Director Jennifer Espinola said the increase will also fund a new program called LEAD Fellows — a student-based consulting program that helps student organizations.
“The reason they merged, at least what they presented to the committee, was twofold,” Reid said. “One, they were trying to follow a national trend of merging, and also because they do provide similar services, so they do a lot of their leadership training as well as their volunteerism from the same office … Maybe the idea to consolidate was to save money.”
Espinola said the merge did not save money.
“I think it’s a better use of money … We are able to share an office manager, so that’s a better use of funds and student workers,” she said.
According to an SG document, the CLCE requested $306,506, but Tyree said the center requested $358,581 for the upcoming year.
“The numbers are off the budget forms they sent over to us,” Reid said. “We went back and asked them to make additional cuts, when I asked them to take 15 percent off. She (Tyree) may have had the old number in front of her.”
Reid said SG allowed the centers to decide what programs to cut.
“Basically, we asked them to revise the request and asked them to cut it further, because we didn’t want to tell them,” he said. “We are trying to do something a little different and make SG in partnership with Student Affairs, and we didn’t want to tell them what they needed to cut. Instead, we went to (Student Affairs) and asked what is working for you guys, what kind of programs do you want to see happening and what is most important to you.”
Additional reporting by Candace Kaw