The annual budget for 2007-08 was approved by the Associated Students Senate on Tuesday, as 20 amendments to the originally drafted budget, which included proposed changes in funding to varying groups, passed or failed.
A proposed decrease in funding for athletic scholarship money by $90,000 was one of the topics most discussed by both the gallery during Open Forum and the senators in a heated debate.
The proposed budget change was submitted by Sens. Alex Ross, Samer Habib and Francis Appiah. All three proposals were submitted to increase the A.S. clubs and organization contingency fund.
The contingency fund consists of money used throughout the year for clubs and organizations that did not request an annual budget through the proper channels, but are still requesting annual funding, according to Director of Finance Adam Haverstock.
Of the 20 amendments proposed, six passed either in whole or part, and 14 failed, were postponed indefinitely or withdrawn by the senator who proposed them.
The amendment to decrease the athletics scholarship fund was voted on five times by the Senate, and was amended from $1 to $60,000. When asked for information about the scholarship funding, General Manager David Crandall said, “We used to fully fund all the scholarships for the student athletes, now we fund 80 percent.”
Ross expressed a need on the part of the athletes to inform and interact with the Senate in order to request the amount of funding they receive.
“I’ve never seen them come here and say this is what they’re doing. It would be pretty nice for them to make an active effort to let A.S. know what’s going on,” he said.
Sen. Joe Yomtoubian disagreed with Ross, and said to a member of the Senate, “I want to congratulate you on kicking out the athletic students by not funding their scholarships,” in reference to a proposed amendment of a $10,000 decrease.
The amendment failed on the fifth vote and no funds were decreased from the athletics scholarship program. The athletic scholarship fund supports 423 student athletes, according to the information given by Haverstock to the Senate.
Ken Douglas-Barrow, Vice President of the Black Student Union, spoke at Open Forum about his club’s request for funding, but also spoke on behalf of athletics, saying, “I am actually one of Northridge sports’ biggest fans.”
Douglas-Barrow later spoke with the Sundial and said that he felt the amendments to decrease athletics were detrimental to the school and the clubs and organizations.
“They put the cultural clubs and organizations, that need the money, and athletics, who want to bring a better view of athletics to the campus, against each other. They cancel each other out,” he said.
The Senate approved the new balanced budget for 2007-08 after all the amendments were addressed. During the finance actions, 11 action items were approved, with one being a transfer of $15,000 from the newly refreshed unallocated reserves to the academically related reserves account, which had been depleted to $891.
Haverstock informed the Senate, “We have $86,089 in unallocated reserves before all action items are approved and will be receiving $36,000 from the fee waivers.”
With all allocations being approved, and four of them being amended with increases, the unallocated reserves currently have $49,689. These actions included a $15,000 transfer to the “Speak Your Mind” series and the transfer to the academically related reserves. The academically related reserves currently have $12,891 after the approval of all actions.
Hugo Martinez, of the CSUN Intelligent Ground Vehicle Team, was pleased when he heard that his requested allocation was increased from $500 to $1,600 during the financial actions, but it was mixed with disappointment that the amendment for increased funding for 2007-08 failed. “We’re very grateful for that because it will help with our team members to go to competition. If we do well, this would bring a lot of recognition for CSUN,” he said.