SG update: High turnout at budget open forum

Spinnaker

Standing room only in SG Senate chambers Feb. 17

The Student Government Senate chambers were swollen with interested students and administrators Wednesday, Feb. 17 as the senate’s Budget and Allocations Committee held an open forum to discuss SG’s proposed budget for the coming fiscal year.

The B&A Committee approved a budget Feb. 12 that will go before the senate at large Monday, March 1 at 6:30 p.m. The senate will then vote to amend, approve, or send the budget back to the committee for further deliberations.

The Spinnaker crunched the proposed budget numbers following the Feb. 12 B&A Committee hearings.

Students and administrators representing various campus groups and organizations voiced their concerns over the proposed budget.

Those in attendance questioned the proposed funding cuts to Campus Recreation, the Interfaith Center, the International Center and the Center for Student Media, among others.

Keenan Webb, a senior English major and an Eco-Adventure staffer, questioned whether setting aside funding for the Osprey Tailgate Classic was worth slashing funding from other departments.

“I’ve enjoyed the Tailgate Classic, I was there last year — good times, it was great — [but] was that worth a whole year’s worth of Eco-Adventure or Osprey Radio or the Spinnaker or these other departments?” Webb said. “No. Those are the everyday things that we utilize as students, I love partying as much as the next guy but I don’t believe that [OTC] should be factored into the budget whatsoever.”

B&A Committee Chair Sen. Kyle Nelson and committee member Erica Richey answered questions and promised to revisit the budget, taking into account students’ apprehensions.

Nelson defended increased funding for events like the Osprey Tailgate Classic and Homecoming in the proposed budget. The B&A Committee is attempting to “build in” these events in order to avoid dipping into the special requests fund.

Nelson said SG has been forced to take out about $150,000 to cover special request funding for these events and things like student education conferences.

“It’s not fair for the students for the money to have to come out of special request funds,” Nelson said.

SG Treasurer Matt Samra arrived after the forum began because of an exam scheduling conflict, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Other SG luminaries in attendance included student body president John Barnes, vice president Mike Saathoff and Chief of Staff Tom Blanchard.

Barnes applauded the students in attendance for their engagement and promised not to sign the budget in it’s current form, but said he wanted everyone to be realistic about SG’s funding limitations.

“I guarantee I’m not going to sign the budget that was proposed by B&A, that’s not going to happen,” Barnes said. “I’m not telling you you’re all going to get your money ‘cause it doesn’t exist. There’s not enough money. It’s not there, that’s just how it is. I wish we could give everybody everything, I would love to do that but it’s not there.”

Check back with the Spinnaker for further updates and more comprehensive coverage of SG’s proposed budget.