SG looks at cutting department budgets
Departments from the Marshall Student Center to Campus Recreation could be looking at a cut in the Activity and Services (A&S) funds they receive to put on events and provide services to students.
A&S allocations, made by Student Government (SG) and approved by administration, are from a semesterly fee paid by students. The Activity and Services Recommendation Committee (ASRC) makes allocations based on the projected amount that fee will bring in for the following year.
The budget for the 2017-18 year allocated $17,889,421. However, the projected budget for next year is $17,378,224, according ASRC Chair Aladdin Hiba.
The budget is still being worked on and numbers aren’t official until passed by SG Senate and signed by System President Judy Genshaft.
An earlier version of the budget planned to allocate $12,250,319 to departments. These include the MSC, Campus Recreation, the Center for Student Involvement, the Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement, Office of Multicultural Affairs and Veterans Services among others.
However, after a meeting Monday, the working estimate for departments was cut by $905,638 or approximately 7.39 percent with an overall cut of $1,603,828, according to Hiba. In total, after the meeting, $1,603,828 was cut from the $18,982,052 in discussion.
According to Senate President Amani Taha, this wasn’t pulled from payroll allocation for the departments.
“All of the departments, the executive branch, and Safe Team all received a 15 percent cut on everything except payroll,” Taha said. “So the programming, the administration, all that stuff except payroll got a 15 percent cut.”
Taha said the hope of ASRC is that departments such as the MSC and Campus Recreation would be able to make up the difference with the money received by non-students using the facility.
“I think it really depends on how they’re setting their budget,” Taha said. “Luckily, places like the MSC and Campus Rec have very large auxiliary accounts. If you’re not a student, you have to pay to get into Campus Rec. If you’re not a student organization, you have to pay to use the MSC. So, they do have some funds in auxiliary. Hopefully that (the cuts) won’t impact that too much.
“Just in terms of what I expect, hopefully they can utilize their A&S budget and utilize their auxiliary budget to kind of continue to provide those services to students.”
According to MSC Director Sujit Chemburkar, approximately 60 percent of the MSC’s funding comes from A&S currently with the other 40 percent from these auxiliary funds. As for cuts, Chemburkar doesn’t know how the MSC could be impacted if A&S funding is cut.
“I’ve heard people talking about it (cuts),” he said. “But nothing official has been received or emailed so I haven’t invested any time in seeing how the building would react.”
For the 2016-17 year, the MSC received $2,789,864. An approximate 7.39 percent cut — which is about what would be cut after the exclusion of payroll, according to Hiba — would equate to a cut of $206,171.
The SG departments are also facing a cut of about $354,440, according to Hiba, or about 15.59 percent of their budgets. Additionally, the SG reserve accounts are facing a 12.15 percent cut, which is about $343,750.
SG is also looking at cutting funding for student organization printing and room reservation. A survey sent to the student body on Friday asked student opinion on whether these services should be available to student organizations who do not receive other A&S funding.
According to Taha, the cuts come down to inflation.
“Things are getting more expensive and the A&S fee is staying stagnant,” she said. “We (were) actually in the negative and then the cuts put us back in the positive.”