By Jewell Porter
Of the 22 organizations that requested budgeting appeals for the 2015-2016 school year, nine organizations made it to the final appeals process in front of DCGA. In total, these nine organizations requested $26,340 in total.
However, the DCGA body, which barely had enough senators present to have the ability to vote according to its voting rules, funded four of these organizations: club squash, Hillel, the Doobie and one collaborative budget between the Black Student Union, the Denison Democrats, University Programming Council and the Denison Feminists to bring Angela Davis to campus. This vote occurred on April 14.
Together, these four organizations received $17,327 of the $2,000 that the DCGA had left over to spend for appeals and new organizations for the 2015-2016 school year.
Additionally, the Bandersnatch, which was not funded during its appeal because many senators felt that they did not say exactly what the money would be going toward, was funded $7,000 of the $8,000 as a result of an amendment sponsored by Kaitlin Sheets ‘15 and co-sponsored by nine senators and nine students who are either part of Denison Enterprises or work for the Bandersnatch.
Bryan LeBlanc ‘15, one of the co-sponsors of the amendment, said, I think the reason why so many senators, including most of the class of 2015, voted to fund to “save the ‘Snatch’ was because of the enormous outcry from the student body. There were some good arguments that the Bandersnatch didn’t meet proper finance guidelines, or that student activities funds shoudn’t be funding this sort of spending anymore. In the end, it came down to our job as representatives for the student body: what did our friends want? What did our class want? What did our community want? To fund the ‘Snatch, plain and simple.”
In order to help finance the appeals process, UPC and the BSU both offered money from their individual budgets. UPC offered $10,000 from its budget to help finance the Angela Davis collaborate budget, and the BSU offered up $4,000 from their Culture Jam budget to help as well.
DCGA also gave up $1,000 that it was allocated to send select members of DCGA to a one-day conference in Chicago, which was organized by the American Student Governance Association.
In addition, Ashley Bartreau ‘16, the finance chair for DCGA, announced toward the end of last week’s meeting that DCGA had more money to work with than it anticipated. They believed that they only had $847,000 to work with to allocate money when organizations first submitted their budgets, but they actually had $856,000 of student activity fees to allocate. This money will help fund the organizations that received extra allocations in the appeal process this year.
Bartreau said that she checked the amount of money that DCGA received in student activity fees for student organizations in the next academic school year, but she learned in a meeting with Seth Patton, vice president of finance and management, on April 21 that this number was incorrect.
Patton added that the amount of money in student activity funds fluctuates given the amount of students who enroll in the University each year. He said, “If we achieve the budgeted enrollment target of 2,150 on-campus students it will generate $924,000 with $865,880 being managed directly by students through DCGA.”
Looking forward to next year, Bartreau hopes that DCGA can figure out a better way to go through the finance process that is more favorable to both DCGA and the student body. She envisions a “call to community council,” where each organization groups itself into one of the ten councils that currently exists. Each of these councils would have two members representing the entire council who would work with the finance committee to determine how much money each council is allocated.
Then, once each council receives a lump sum of the student activity funds, the council will decide for itself how much money each organization within that council would receive.
Bartreau recognizes that there are many small details that need to be worked out, but she came up with this plan because it “gets more students involved with the finance committee” and it puts the responsibility [of student organization finances] in the hands of the students.”
She encourages all students who have ideas about how to improve the finance process to reach out to her at email@example.com.