The 2011-12 proposed budget for student organizations was discussed by the 51st student senate at their last general meeting on Tuesday, April 12, in addition to Constitution and Rules Committee (CRC) proposals.
Vice President of Finance Youssouf Kouyo presented the budget to the legislative body and went through each line change. Stipulations were attached to some clubs detailing where they could allocate money for certain resources. For example, Recycling Club could not provide food for their members at every meeting. Clubs could challenge these stipulations if they applied for funds through General Programming.
The legislative body learned that some clubs never touch their funds throughout the semester. According to Senate Chair Terrell Coakley, this information usually does not come to light until the new budget is reviewed at the end of the spring semester.
Disbursing Agent Linda Lendvay urged senators to review the budget periodically. She compared it to a “living document” and said some examples for greater scrutiny were the Fencing Club and the $8,000 solar car line in which funds were going unused.
Some changes to the budget include WNPC-TV purchasing two new HD cameras for $11,400 each and bringing their total funding to $43,900, Fahari Libertad being cut from $12,700 to $9,511 and an imposed stipulation that they couldn’t use money requested for a dinner to re-allocate that for printing more issues.
The Professional Salaries fund increased by 3 percent, the Senate Discretionary fund increased from $7,000 to $8,000 and the Equipment fund increased from $56,000 to $72,000 because a copy machine will be installed outside Student Union 100, near the ATM, and additional funding will go to buying paper and maintenance.
The budget also included a Budget and Finance Committee Unappropriated fund. Money will be placed in the fund upon club requests, and these can be appealed. Exactly $16,680 exists in that fund.
Kouyo also said that two general stipulations will be in place for all clubs for fall 2011, with the first being a max of $1,500 for videographer/photographer of an event is in place. Any additional amount request must be generated by sale of DVD created.
The second is tht all outside vendors sponsored by a Student Association organization will pay 20 percent of the gross sales generated.
Ratification for this budget will take place at the last senate meeting after appeals have been made.
Sen. Jonathan Espinosa presented to the legislative body his idea for greater transparency and open communication between the SUNY schools. He proposed creating a new E-board position called the vice president of communication and said that all senators could be involved, through e-mail and Facebook, to contact other students and to present any updates.
“Keeping that contact would benefit us all,” said Sen. Megan Grieco.
The legislative body recommended turning this proposal into a committee and giving it a test-run before it is drafted into the constitution. The senate wants to introduce it officially in a bill to be voted on in spring 2013.
Vice President of Academic Affairs and Governance Caitlin Ryan presented constitutional bylaw amendments on behalf of Council Chair Shayna Bentley. The aim is to amend the agenda of Council of Organizations and review and possibly limit the number of permitted absences a club is allowed. Bentley also brought up amending travel roster requirements and coach registration contracts.
The decision to act on these changes was postponed. Senators will have a meeting to discuss and finalize a bylaw amendment.
Sen. Connor McElwaine presented his idea to the legislative body to have senators hold specialized positions, like a senator for budgetary affairs, among other issues.
“[It’s] less about a popularity contest, and more real debate,” he said.
The decision is still being considered.
The next general student senate meeting is on Tuesday, April 26.