ASG halts cut backs and allocates $471,000 to student organizations
Published: Friday, September 27, 2013
Updated: Friday, September 27, 2013 02:09
The Associated Student Government (ASG) convened Tuesday for the first time this academic year to discuss budgeting and student organization funding. During the meeting, they awarded $471,000 to student organizations to use this semester.
ASG is composed of 13 members of the President of the Student Body’s cabinet, as well as 50 student senators who represent various districts of campus and Oxford.
One of ASG’s most substantial responsibilities is to allocate university funding to 200 student organizations on campus. According to vice president of student organizations junior Kyle Hees, each year the university distributes over one million dollars to ASG to fund club sports, Miami Activities and Planning (MAP) and Student Organizations. Traditionally, about $400,000 of that is apportioned to student organizations.
Hees explained that in years past, ASG has rarely given student organizations the full amount of money they request each semester. Usually, a 30 percent cutback has been applied to ensure the organizations spend their money wisely.
However, this year, the ASG student organization funding committee, consisting of Hees, treasurer junior Nathan Lombardi and seven senators, have allocated the full $471,000 requested amount to student organizations, thus no cutback has been applied.
“We want student organizations to do everything they want to do and put on every event they plan to,” Hees said in regards to the decision to not apply a cutback.
According to Hees, each semester, student organizations only use about a half of their distributed funds, and the remaining $200,000 is swept back to ASG and deposited into a relief fund. This fund’s purpose is to provide monetary support if ASG or certain student organizations plunge into debt.
However, Hees noted that over the past two years, ASG has not faced any debt, so the relief fund has accumulated more than $400,000. He said he and the committee want to use a share of that money to fund student organizations the full requested amount.
“This is a trial run into something greater,” junior senator of the committee Michael Vostatek said.
During the period of senate debate over the student organization budget, senior senator Drew Doggett applauded the funding committee for their work, articulating his trust in their ability to fund the student organizations responsibly.
“I think we elected these people [in the funding committee] and they chose to be in these positions for a reason, so we should trust them that they have made the right decision,” he said.
However, junior senator Tyler Guyot pointed out that some organizations may overestimate the amount of money they need for funding, expecting a cutback to be applied. He said he was concerned that, as a result, ASG may be funding these organizations more money than they will need or use.
“I know that because we have applied a cutback in years past, some organizations will ask for more money than they need,” Guyot said. “What I don’t want to happen in the future is where we don’t have enough money to fund organizations all their money and end up going into debt.”
In response to these trepidations, Hees and Lombardi assured the senate that the risk of debt is minimal, as the funding committee conducts exhaustive audits each year to monitor the student organization spending. If an organization is approaching their spending limit for a given semester, they will receive a warning and their account may be frozen.
The funding committee expressed high expectations for the new system, which carried over to the senate. The budget passed 26-0.
Also during the meeting, the senate reviewed this year’s ASG’s budget. The university has allocated $69,216 to ASG and, adding a roll over of $18,445 in money that was not spent last year, the government has a total budget of $88,261 to work with this year.
ASG will vote on their budget next Tuesday.