This year’s budget allocates $467,707 to CSUN clubs and organizations, in spite of calls for reform in last semester’s Senate open forum.
The recommendations for next year’s annual budget are underway as the A.S. finance committee now turns over the budget to the discerning eyes of the A.S. Senate.
A.S. President Adam Salgado will review it, make any changes he feels necessary, then it will go back to the finance committee. They will go over each of the changes individually, tie up loose ends, and send the final copy to the Senate for a vote.
Due to an increase of A.S. fees, A.S. is required to allocate at least $450,000 to clubs and organizations, Haverstock said. Compared to the past four years, allocations to all clubs and organizations have gradually increased, but room rentals and other fees have increased for groups as well. Of the 142 student groups on campus requesting approximately $1.38 million for the upcoming year, funding nearly half a million dollars does not suffice for many campus groups and organizations.
“We’ve been trying to raise our own money and we’ve been pretty successful but this drop in funding isn’t good news,” said Terenig Topjian, president of the Armenian Students Association. “I was expecting at least the same amount as last year. I mean, we’re not a business, our only focus shouldn’t be raising money. It should be putting on quality events, and low A.S. funding doesn’t help.”
He went on to say, “When we had the cultural meeting with some A.S. reps, I told them how it was kind of ridiculous to ask for a budget a year before. No club knows exactly what they are going to plan next year because the executives are not even elected yet. We’re lucky to have been around, so we have our set few events, but we always do new stuff, we just don’t know what the new stuff is yet.”
The Armenian Student Association was one of the groups requesting a little more than $29,000 but receiving only a sixth of that amount. Other organizations requesting in the tens of thousands of dollars are the African Student Organization, American Indian Student Association, Muslim Student Association, Hillel Jewish Student Center, M.E.Ch.A. and more, all of whom may receive less than a quarter of their requests.
There are still other student organizations that are not getting even that much. The 29 student groups who missed their date to present funding requests in front of the finance committee and A.S. staff over winter break were penalized and may potentially only be funded $400. Last year, organizations that failed to appear for the presentations were funded $800.
The groups will be able to come back and make requests for supplemental funding but not until the next fiscal year, which begins June 1, 2007.
Most new clubs and organizations, ones that have not previously requested any funds, will receive a minimum of $1,000 because the committee does not know the success or failure rate of their programs. Some will receive more depending on how well the committee members think the programs will go. In previous years, all first-time requesters got a set amount.
Recommendations are not only being made for student organizations. Other programs that are trying to get their hands on next year’s estimated total AS. revenue of nearly $5 million are university programs, A.S. Government, A.S. support, and A.S. programs and services.
The report, which was attached to the budget sent by Haverstock to Salgado, Vice President Sarah Jackson, cabinet and Senate members and a few others around campus, contained the breakdown of the work-in-progress annual budget and a letter explaining how to read the budget and the committee’s philosophy when governing A.S. fee distribution.
In his report, Haverstock lists the different sections in what he perceives as an appropriate hierarchy. He says that A.S. government and A.S. support should be first on their list for funding, followed by A.S. programs and services, with student organizations coming in third, leaving university programs in last place and where more cuts can be made.
“The AS Fee is paid by students, for students. While we should not be the sole source of revenue for student organizations, we are probably the largest for most,” Haverstock said in the report.
University programs, which includes intercollegiate athletics, the Matador Patrol and the Women’s Resource Center, along with many others, are recommended approximately $1.76 million, but they come in last place of importance because they are facilitated by people who do not pay the A.S. fees.
“Their programs benefit many students, so they do merit funding, but if the AS didn’t have enough money to operate this is where cuts should be made first,” the report stated.
Intercollegiate athletics will receive the bulk of the university program funding, with $1.48 million. This department was a main topic of conversation in previous finance committee meetings and caused some controversy. Originally the committee debated lowering their funding to only $1 million, decreasing their allocation by nearly $500,000 from the current school year’s allocation to athletics.
“I appreciate any funds given to us by students. I know it is not an easy job,” said Director of Athletics Rick Mazzuto. “There are many students asking for funding. I don’t envy the senators and the task that they have.”
One hundred percent of the money funded to intercollegiate athletics goes to scholarships. So obviously if they only had a million dollars to work with it would have a negative affect on the program, Mazzuto said.
“We are like everyone else, we are trying to move forward rather than stay in neutral or work backwards,” he said.
The A.S. government will potentially be allocated $457,375, while A.S. support is recommended $890,100 and AS programs and services nearly $1.4 million.
The total expected revenue for A.S. is $4,981,333. The finance committee can allocate more funds to different groups as needed throughout the year.