Student Senate needs to act fiscally responsible
April 11, 2013
At the last Student Senate meeting an idea was brought up for the Senate to spend $1,000 for a Senate awards banquet. Fortunately, a senator brought up that this was a ridiculous amount of money to spend for roughly 50 people to have dinner, and to provide awards for themselves. While we hope the Senate will indeed reconsider this, as the one senator suggested, this is just one of the many examples of Senate being fiscally irresponsible with our money.
The Allocable Fees Appropriation Board (AFAB) introduced the preliminary budget for all student organizations. We fully recognize that this is no easy task, as over $200,000 was allocated after over $750,000 in requests.
However, we are a little disappointed in how the AFAB chose to allocate that money and thus urge students to voice their concerns before Senate makes its final decision at the April 16 meeting. The Senate meets at 7 p.m. in room 334 of the University Center. Among the disappointments was the funding of condoms that a student organization will pass out to students on campus. What may be striking to some, it is also that our student fees that AFAB allocated would be enough for each student to have 63 condoms. Besides the sure point of passing these out, may we remind you that students are also paying a student health fee that would cover these costs as well.
This greatly troubles us as 12 student organizations were given no funding at all. While there may be valid reasons for these organizations not receiving funding, AFAB Chair Kayla Edstrom said the reason some of these organizations did not receive funding is that there “wasn’t enough money to go around.” We understand that completely. However, for the last few years there has been a growing pot of leftover student org money that is put into the reserve account. There is over $100,000 in that account. Since that money came from student org fees, why is that money not going back to the student orgs? We know this is not a long-term solution, but until enrollment is up or the fee is increased, each and every year student orgs will continue to see their budgets being cut.
Therefore, whether it is spending money on an awards banquet, allocating money for condoms, or preventing student organizations from being cut from crucial services, we urge Senate to be more fiscally responsible and ask the students to voice these concerns if they want to see their money spent wisely. Finally, we urge the chancellor to really examine the AFAB budget and see if the money being spent fits UW-River Falls’ values and helps the students in every way possible. Please don’t pass the budget for the sake of passing the budget.