After funding five student organizations at Wednesday’s senate, the Undergraduate Student Government is nearing the end of the funds budgeted for emergency legislative requests.
According to Funding Board chair Stephen Porcello, USG has approved $38,000 of the $40,000 allocated to emergency funding at the beginning of the semester. He said that they are looking into moving money from the Funding Board’s budget to increase funds available.
Porcello said that this will not increase the projected budget deficit of $6,000 presented at the beginning of the semester.
He said this kind of spending is not historically unprecedented. Emergency funding reached $54,000 in the spring of 2013 but had a larger allocation of funds in that semester.
One of the groups funded at senate was the Men’s Club Volleyball Team. They were awarded $5,000 for a trip that was approved last semester but was not reimbursed because the then chief financial officer did not present the documents needed to USG. Club members were left to cover the cost of the trip out of pocket.
“Really we were under the impression that the money was coming,” said treasurer Seann Finan. “We had a whole new executive board this year.”
Senators debated whether or not funding a group that was not funded because of mistakes by their executives was a good precedent to set.
Bennett Cognato, College of Arts and Sciences senator who authored the legislation, said improper funding applicants should still be held accountable but the extenuating circumstances of this case made it an exception.
“While we’re facing some interesting budget situations, I think it is important that we give that money back to the students,” Cognato said. (Cognato is also a staff columnist for The Daily Campus)
Porcello said this funding decision will not set a precedent for future allocations.
“We review everything on a case-by-case basis,” he said.
No groups have been given emergency funding after missing application deadlines for regular funding, according to Porcello, and will not fund them in the future unless circumstances are “especially egregious.”
Porcello and the rest of Funding Board have no plans to curtail legislative funding, but encouraged senators to think carefully of the funding they pass.
“It’s up to senate to decide what is approved,” he said.
Nicholas Shigo is associate news editor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.