Senate delays budget decision, SA to receive more funds

A panel presented TED-talk style speeches on of free speech in the media followed by a discussion. FILE PHOTO / THE FLAT HAT

Senators examined the proposed budget for the 2013-14 academic year at their meeting Tuesday, Feb. 12. Dozens of student organizations, the publication council and the Student Assembly  split the proposed budget of $695,800. Due to a $30 addition error, the senate amended the budget and tabled the final vote until next week’s meeting.

In the budget-making process, organizations submit budget requests during the fall semester and are given money based on the discretion of the SA-appointed executive appropriations committee, SA President Curt Mills ’13 and Senate Chair Kendall Lorenzen ’15. Organizations then have the opportunity to appeal the budget decision made for their group to the senate finance committee. The finance committee already evaluated the budget after considering appeals before spring break and forwarded the budget to the full senate last Sunday.

As it stands, the SA is the only organization to obtain more funds than requested in the fall. Secretary of Finance Brett Prestia ’14 attributed the $13,000 increase to the unanticipated finances needed to continue funding free STI testing, which resulted in the subsidization of the program earlier this semester, and the increase in the cost for airport shuttles.

“We wanted to make sure the Student Assembly could fund the school without having to put special bills in,” Prestia said.

AMP is slated to receive the largest sum of money of any student organization at $130,500, a decrease of $14,000 from last year’s budget. Steer Clear’s proposed budget is the second largest at $16,530, a $3,378 increase from last year’s budget.

AMP divides its money among a variety of areas including both the Charter Day and  Homecoming concert. Steer Clear’s budget goes toward paying the salaries of student workers who run the program.

Sen. A.J. Sapon ’13 raised concerns that the organization Students for Life will receive twice as much money as Voices for Planned Parenthood, according to the proposed budget.

“I think, personally, the nature of the organization should be disregarded when allocating funds,” Sen. Ishan Bardhan ’13 said.

VOX originally requested $1,640 but was granted $150.

“The budget is a line item budget, and the reason that VOX is getting less [than Students for Life] is because most of their individual requests that they were asking for could not be funded at all,” Prestia said.

The finance committee does not fund food catering, unless food is a necessary aspect of an event as in the case for many cultural activities. Also, off-campus events and events not open to the entire campus are not funded.

When the final budget is approved by the senate, a task set for next Tuesday’s meeting, the 2013-14 student activities fee will be determined by dividing the budget by the number of full-time students at the College of William and Mary. Mills then has the opportunity to approve or veto the budget. If vetoed, the budget will return to the senate for further discussion.

Lorenzen introduced the Tribe Rides Reevaluation Act, which would grant an additional $1,500 to the Tribe Rides program established last semester, partially through a similar SA act.

“As we get later and later in the semester, more and more people seek out mental health services,” Lexie Mellis ’14 said. “Following that projection, it looks like there are going to be around ten or possibly a few more student using Tribe Rides by the end of the semester, even if we don’t bump up advertising, which is also planned. …it looks like we will need at least $1,500 and up to $2000 to continue funding all [the] rides as well as providing rides for projected students of the relatively conservative estimate of ten students by the end of the semester.”

Lorenzen assigned the bill to the finance, outreach, and student life committees.


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