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Student Senate denies AFAB’s budget proposal

March 25, 2010

The Allocable Fees Appropriation Board (AFAB) was scheduled to meet Thursday night to discuss budget revisions in the wake of its proposed budget being rejected at the March 23 Student Senate meeting. The budget failed in a 12-5 vote with 1 abstention.

“There were quite a few people [at the Senate meeting], around 75-100,” Student Voice Business Manager Ashley Schmeling said. “It was standing room only, some people standing two deep along all the walls. Every org rep there was really passionate about their org getting budget cuts and I think that is why Senate rejected the budget—to see so many people in attendance all so affected by these cuts was hard to ignore.”

The proposed budget cut an average of 51 percent per funding request for the 59 separate UW-River Falls campus organizations that requested money from the organized activities segregated fees fund.

Friends of Big Brothers, Big Sisters (FBBBS) saw the lowest percentage budget cut at 7 percent, while University Theater and Dance Theater saw the biggest at 89 percent and 93 percent respectively.

Of the 59 organizations that appear in the budget proposal, 10 have a 100 percent budget cut. While some of these orgs may have simply not reapplied for funding, others requested money but were mistakingly not included in the AFAB budget proposal.

“There were representatives from two or three orgs there that weren’t on the budget proposal at all,” Schmeling said. “They complained that they requested funding but were mysteriously left off the budget proposal.”

According to Senate President Josh Brock, AFAB will need to meet and attempt to restructure the proposal in an effort to appease the affected organizations. One available solution would be to dip into the reserve fund, which is currently over $100,000 according to the Oct. 20, Senate meeting minutes.

An option that wasn’t discussed at the Senate meeting was raising the segregated fees for full-time UWRF students.

Currently, students pay $59.76 per academic year for organized activities. According to Director of Student Life Paul Shepherd, UWRF has the lowest organized activities segregated fee in the UW-System; the average is $75.

AFAB will resubmit a new budget proposal to Senate by Tuesday, March 30. If the proposal is again rejected, Chancellor Van Galen may get involved.

Comments

Derek Brandt on 29 Mar 2010: My name is Derek Brandt and I am a former Student Senate President (2007-2008). Although I'm not familiar with this annual budget, I will say that I'm happy to see the elected body of Student Governance willing use their oversight power on behalf of the Student Body. I urge all the parties involved to collaborate together to develop a budget that is appropriate and can be accepted by all parties. While debating, please keep in mind the demographics of UW-River Falls which includes one of highest number of first generation college students in the University of Wisconsin System. I would also like to note that the reserve fund has been around $100,000 for several years now and I encourage you, like I did to my Senate, to spend down part of that money. Allocable segregated fees should collected to benefit the students that pay the fee, not future students of UW-RF.