Students’ Association Congress worked more than two hours to approve the $90,000 budget for the spring semester in their first congressional meeting.
Out of the $92,846 that was requested, the clubs received $37,000 to spend this semester. None of the student groups’ requests were fully funded. The remainingÂ budget was allocated to SA officer salaries, conference requests, and class budgets. With such a small percent granted to the student groups, the distribution of the funds was heavily debated.
“It didn’t get heated, but it definitely got tense.Â I thought everyone was respectable about it though,” said Carson Henley, SA executive treasurer. “Last fall we didn’t have a lot of debate which was kind of good because it meant people trusted us, but it was also bad because it’s helpful to have debate.”
The majority of the debate centered around reallocating money to groups who wanted to fund events that had not been provided for in the budget. One of these groups was Shades, a campus step and hip-hop company, who wanted $350 to help fund their annual performance in April. They lacked two votes to confirm this budget change, and they did not receive the extra money. Brandon Bolden, captain of Shades, did not resent Congress’ decision.
“We felt the budget meeting went better than last year,” Bolden said. “Congress wasn’t opposed to get input. It was good to see the process even if we didn’t get the budget we wanted.”
Many student group representatives and Congress members passionately discussed who should receive more funds and who should receive less. Freshman President Rodney Johnson voiced his opinion several times.
“I thought the meeting went really well, though it did go a lot longer than last year’s.” Johnson said. “I didn’t understand some points people were trying to make or were voting against, but we resolved it and in the end understood we were here for the student groups.”
Virtuous Sisterhood’s president Keri Gray also frequently participated in the budget debate and appreciated the process and eventual goal of SA.
“At first, I was surprised by people’s stinginess, but at the end we figured out we were here to fight for the student groups.” Gray said, ” I think Carson, the treasurer, and Heath, the financial officer, do a great job with the budget, and I like how it’s run.”
After two hours of discussion, Congress came to a conclusion and passed this years budget. In the meeting, Henley explained why figuring out the budget is so difficult.
Henley said, “The budget is like a baby. You have to ask which limb you want to take off.”