Senate, GSA ratify 2014–15 JFC budget

Student Senate and the Graduate Student Assembly (GSA) held a joint meeting on Thursday to hear second-round budget appeals and ratify the slate for total Joint Funding Committee (JFC) allocations for the 2014–15 fiscal year. Both bodies voted to approve a total $29,467 increase in JFC allocations — an approximate 1.95 percent increase to the original $1.51 million in allocations.

Student Body Vice President for Finance (SBVPF) and junior statistics major Jalen Poteat gave an introductory presentation, during which he urged senators and GSA members to be mindful of recent changes to the JFC metrics. Among these changes was a flat cap of $250 per person for travel. This year, the JFC also allocated more money to subsidize food for events where the food relates directly to the culture of that event.

Student Senate Chair and senior chemistry major Lukas Ronner led discussion in coordination with Patrick Foley, GSA president and a doctoral candidate in statistics.
According to Poteat and Foley, the JFC allocations were typical relative to previous years and aligned with projections for JFC spending. “I don’t see any drastic departure from ordinary JFC spending from previous years,” Foley said.

A difference in next year’s allocations is a decrease in funding for Activities Board (AB) Concerts as compared to this year’s allocations. AB Concerts was granted more funding than usual this year in anticipation of the 100th Spring Carnival.

The JFC approved $125,000 to cover artist booking fees for the spring concert — $25,000 more than the $100,000 originally requested, as compared to the $60,000 granted the year before. Next year, AB Concerts will receive $60,000 of the $75,000 originally requested for the annual Spring Carnival concert.

The JFC issued final budget recommendations last Monday and directed organizations who wished to further appeal the JFC’s decision to make their case to both Student Senate and the GSA at Wednesday’s meeting.

As part of the second-round appeals process, student representatives presented to both bodies for one minute. This presentation was followed by a four-minute discussion, then a voting process that was frequently delayed by senators and GSA members as they extended the discussion period.

Among the groups whose funding requests were approved were Carnival Committee, WRCT, Ballroom Dance Club, and Rowing Club. While Ballroom Dance Club received a relatively small increase of $1,532 to fund their Scotch Ball event, other groups received approval for larger requested amounts.

Carnival Committee received $10,500 to reinstate fireworks after next year’s Carnival concert. Campus radio station WRCT was granted $7,245 to facilitate its transition to a digital audio system. Rowing Club received $14,190 to purchase a new trailer; their old one broke down just last Saturday — too late for Rowing Club to make the request for first-round appeals.
Undergraduate solar-electric boat team Solar Splash and AB Concerts were both denied the increases they requested.

Solar Splash requested $11,700 as operational funds for building its boat and hosting community events. AB Concerts requested a $10,000 increase per semester — $20,000 total — to allow them to negotiate for artists with higher price ranges. They also requested $4,250 to fund a safer truck stage to upgrade from traditional stage setups. Student Senate and the GSA denied both requests.

Finally, Student Body President Elect and junior electrical and computer engineering and business administration double major Ian Glasner appealed to retract a $4,000 allocation that would provide honorariums to the SBVPF and student body vice president for organizations (SBVPO), continuing a conversation within student government about offering honorariums to student government executives.

In light of recently denied efforts to provide honorariums to the student body president (SBP) and student body vice president (SBVP), Glasner also moved to eliminate compensation for SBVPF and SBVPO. Despite his overall support for honorariums for student government executives, Glasner said, “Only paying SBVPF and SBVPO devalues the SBP and SBVP roles.”

The appeal passed in both governing bodies, and the $4,000 allocation was removed.

After voting individually on each appeal, Student Senate and the GSA voted one final time to ratify the JFC slate for the coming fiscal year.