Two budget bills were approved in Tuesday night’s Senate meeting, but each was met with only one vote of opposition.
The approved budgets, one that allocates funds for academics and another for student organizations, will allocate $423,973 to academics and $998,240 to student organizations.
Although eight senators spoke during the pro rounds of each budget, only one senator, Michael Christ, spoke during the con portion of each budget. The debate proved combative, and Senate President Dylan Fisher had to redirect senators’ comments three times.
Christ’s main concern was money being allocated to only a “select powerful few in Student Government” and that three organizations are receiving nearly one-third of the organization budget.
“Student Government is too big — I think we are constantly raising fees … and taking money from students’ pockets,” he said. “When large sums of money are directed toward few organizations, we need to be aware of it, and we need to be concerned with it. Tonight we are allocating $1.4 million. That’s a huge responsibility.”
Davis Bean, chairman of the budget committee, said three organizations receiving a large portion of the funding — Volunteers for International Student Affairs, Hispanic Student Association and Asian American Student Union — have about 41 organizations underneath them.
“These sub-organizations hold their own independent events and they do their own things,” Bean said. “In order to keep the system efficient, when these organizations have like causes, we group them together under someone so they have that leadership umbrella up top.”
Carrying over from first reading debates, issues about funding for food and fiscal responsibility resurfaced.
Christ reiterated his point that he believes organizations can “do more with less.”
“I want to fully fund the student orgs so they can be the best they possibly can be … but I think they are already overfunded,” he said.
Sen. Anthony Sorrentino, who spoke in the pro portion of the debate, said in comparison to last year’s budget, only two organizations saw increases.
“If there is a fear of the size of their budget, it is not apparent in this budget,” he said.
Sen. Joselin Padron-Rasines agreed. She said if responsible organizations were overfunded, they wouldn’t need to come back the following year requesting more money.
“Every year, organizations see a need — not a want, but a need — to request more funding because they do see that they need to put on more events or more money for their programming,” she said.
[A version of this story ran on page 1 on 4/16/2014 under the headline "Student Senate OKs allocation of $1.4 million to organizations"]
Sen. Davis Bean, chairman of the budget and appropriations committee, discusses the 2014-2015 Student Government funded organizational budget during Tuesday’s Student Senate meeting.