Student Union budget passes Senate, Treasury
Late into the night on Tuesday members of Student Union (SU) Treasury discussed the 2007-2008 budget proposed by the SU Executives, which totals almost 2.1 million dollars.
The budget passed Treasury with minor changes and was confirmed by the Senate on Wednesday night with no further amendments.
The proposed budget generated especially heated debate as Executive Committees, including WUTV, KWUR and Filmboard, took major cuts in their annual operating budgets.
The cuts came as part of an initiative by the SU executives to be more forward-thinking with regard to the budget.
“The Student Union budget needs to be looked at from a historical point of view, but also from a future point of view,” said junior Neil Patel, president of SU. “Things might change as things change on campus – for example, the creation of a new University Center or bringing the debates to campus. Student Union needs to be more flexible to reflect the changing desires of students.”
Patel and Treasurer Marius Johnson explained that this year’s budget required more changes than it had in years past.
“We wanted to be able to provide more flexibility for Treasury and Senate,” said Johnson. “For Treasury, this means strengthening the appeals account for Category 1 and 2 student groups, and for Senate, it means giving them a greater ability to show financial support for its resolutions.”
By funding events like Bauhaus and Senior Week during the initial budget phase, the appeals fund will have more money left over for other student groups.
Additionally, the Sports Club Federation, the umbrella organization for all club sports on campus, was changed to an executive committee instead of a Category 1 group. As a result, the amount of money available for Category 1 groups next year will increase substantially.
The budget proposed by the SU Executives worked to cover each group’s minimum operating cost, especially those of the executive committees who receive the largest proportion of funding.
“The interviews worked to find what the minimum amount that would suffice for their needs and let them operate,” stated Johnson. “Things like equipment breakdown and repair would be controlled by the executive appeals account.”
Johnson explained his hope that this new system, in which groups are required to communicate more with SU executives, will result in more mutual accountability by cutting down on the number of large allocations that can be spent without SU supervision.
Specifically, the new system allows executive committees to appeal to a separate executive appeals account controlled by the SU Executives, sized at $75,000 in the final budget. The creation of the new appeals account is, in part, a reaction to a constitutional council decision earlier this year, which states that executive committees cannot appeal to Treasury.
“Student Union is not saying these executive committees aren’t going to get [more] money, we’re just saying we are hesitant to give them such large sums of money up front with no ability to do anything about it later,” said Johnson.
-With additional reporting by Sam Guzik and Sara Rajaram
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