Possible budget bill blowback: Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement

TEDx, a program where students can attend TED talks given by fellow students or others in the USF committee to gain information on a variety of topics, will be eliminated next year due to the budget cuts. SPECIAL TO THE ORACLE.

This story is a part of a continuing series that touches on the effects certain departments will face as a result of the proposed budget bill that will cut 15 percent overall to programming.

With several Activity and Service (A&S) fee-funded departments facing potential budget cuts, there are some that will have to make only minor adjustments whereas others have to make major changes.

One department that is making plans to manage its cut is the Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement (CLCE). If the proposal passes, the CLCE is faced with about a $30,000 budget cut.

“The CLCE has always spent our funds in a manner that creates the best possible student experiences within the parameters of the A&S process,” Mike Severy, director of CLCE, said. “We’re on track to spend 99 percent of our (student employment) funds and 95 percent of our programming dollars. In our current funding model we won’t be able to positively scale programming with a 15 percent cut.”

Severy explained that while the total department budget will only be cut 4 percent, some parts of the spending are exempt. Staff salary and benefits along with administration and travel costs will not be impacted by the budget changes, leaving student employment (OPS) and programming to take the cuts.

So, while the overall budget cut to the CLCE is 4 percent, the parts that directly impact students will see a 15 percent change, according to Severy.

OPS, the part of the budget that pays hourly student employees of the CLCE, is set to receive an $18,921 cut. Programming, which pays for events hosted by CLCE, will face an $11,917 cut.

TEDxUSF is part of the CLCE’s programming and will be eliminated from CLCE spending.

TEDx is a program where students at USF can attend TED talks given by fellow students or others in the USF committee to gain information on a variety of topics. The rationale for nixing the program was that it simply wasn’t accessible to all USF students, according to Activity and Service Fee Recommendation Committee Chair Aladdin Hiba.

“As (the CLCE) gave us more information and more information, it became clearer that it was not something open to all students,” Hiba said. “The thing is TEDx is super strict about a whole bunch of its guidelines. It has on its website a list of criteria that has to be met for the hosting organization.”

To attend a talk as an audience member, there was an application process. There is limited seating at each TEDx event and a student could be the first to fill out an application, but that same student might not be selected because the audience is limited to 100 people. For TEDxUSF, this shows how a funded event wasn’t accessible to all students.

According to Hiba, it was made clear to the CLCE that TEDxUSF was likely to be canceled in the fall and said CLCE should have expected TEDxUSF to have questions asked about it.

Other parts of CLCE that will change from the budget proposal are Stampede of Service and Charge: Grab Service By The Horns.

According to Hiba, it will be up to the individual departments to adjust to their new budgets.

“We do not have anybody in charge of talking to the departments and working with them to find out, ‘let’s see what you can do within your departments to make things work within this budget,’ but historically that has not really been the role of our Student Government,” Hiba said. “We would not really be able to help them with that; they are much more knowledgeable when it comes to spending their budget than we are. Our role in this process is the allocation of that money.”


~Additional reporting by Managing Editor Jesse Stokes