The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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A.S. recommends $6.7 million for annual budget

The Associated Students Senate approved a $6.7 million annual budget for the 2008-2009 academic year after debating over 35 amendments during a six-hour meeting on April 29, followed by a continuation meeting on May 1.

The annual budget was calculated assuming a total student population of 33,750 for both the fall and spring semesters, with a fee of $76 per student, and 6,000 students for summer with a fee of $44 per student.

The athletics grant-in-aid account received $1.4 million in funds for the new annual budget. Of the $76 per student, $21 of that fee will go to the athletics’ department, said Andrew Collard, A.S. finance director.

A total of $1.7 million was given to A.S. programs and services, which represent programs like the Big Show, Student Productions and Campus Entertainment, as well as the Fitness Center.

The Matador Involvement Center received $33,000 out of a $35,000 budget since one amendment allocated $2,000 to the Academically Related Reserves Account.

Students, faculty and staff members who were affected by the proposed amendment budget reallocations attended Tuesday’s meeting. Many had to stand up in the back since all the seats were taken.

The open forum was held for almost two hours, an hour more than the allotted time.

Members of the Matador Involvement Center asked the Senate not cut their programs during the open forum.

“Be active in this organization’s principle of communication by getting the word out, these budget cuts are terrible…Be my voice and hear me out, don’t let my voice for 225 students go unheard,” said Melanie Gallegos, coordinator for Student Development.

She spoke on behalf of MIC, since it was the organization that helped her out with her club Acasola, an a cappella music group on campus.

“I practically lived in the MIC when I first started (the group)…It breaks my heart to think that these resources might not be in existence for other students to experience as I have,” Gallegos said.

The MIC had six amendments that would have reallocated approximately $20,100 of its $35,000 budget to the ARRA.

The money reallocated to the ARRA was expected to fund a majority of the $50,000 to the athletics’ grant-in-aid account, said Hal Ellison, A.S. attorney general.

Since the MIC amendments did not pass, the ARRA did not have sufficient funds to cover the $50,000 increased amendment to the athletics’ grant-in-aid, so the amendment was deemed out of order, Ellison said.

The senators had opposite views on how the MIC amendments should be handled.

“I am against all these cuts to the MIC programs,” said A.S. Sen. Abel Pacheco, “specifically because obviously with (the) campus quality fee, if it is approved, it will only fund new programs, not existing programs.”

Pacheco brought up the campus quality fee because A.S. Sen. Byron Baba and others were basing the money reallocations if the fee passed, since they said the fee would cover programs such as the MIC.

The campus quality fee will allow for an increase of $100 in tuition for next three years. If the fee is approved, some of the money will be used for student support services, as stated on its website.

Other organizations that spoke in the open forum concerning their budget cuts were the Blues Project and Project D.A.T.E.

“If the Blues Project is not able to inform students about suicide and depression who will? There is really not another group on campus to provide this service,” said Debra Arviso, graduate student assistant for the Blues Project.

Selina Zadeh-Asadouri, graduate student assistant for Project D.A.T.E., also shared her concerns during the open forum.

“I am in opposition to the proposed amendments, which states $1,400 of Project D.A.T.E. funding, which is our entire account, (will) be removed to the ARRA,” said Zadeh-Asadouri, “I ask, how can we successfully run our program without any funding?”

In the end both the Blues Project and Project D.A.T.E. kept their annual funds.

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance was the only University Program to have $1,300, their entire account, taken away.

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