USG votes to reduce funding to student organizations

The Undergraduate Student government holds it's first meeting of the 2017-2018 school year where the new administration and new senators were sworn in. (Amar Batra/The Daily Campus)

The Undergraduate Student government holds it's first meeting of the 2017-2018 school year where the new administration and new senators were sworn in. (Amar Batra/The Daily Campus)

The Undergraduate Student Government (USG) at the University of Connecticut voted Wednesday night to reduce funding to student organizations.

In the new funding policies, the maximum amount a Tier II organization can ask for will be reduced from $12,000 to $10,000. USG president Dan Byrd and comptroller Rishita Jani estimate about 35 groups regularly ask for over $10,000.

Additionally, requests for contractual services, including coaches and speakers, as well as supplies and equipment will no longer be fully funded by USG. Instead, those requests will be funded at 90 percent of what the group requests.

The policies were discussed Monday at a town hall held by USG. Club sports and other student organizations attended the town hall to express their disagreement with the cuts and how they would be affected by them.

Representatives from Formula SAE, the men’s and women’s rugby team and the ballroom dance team spoke at Wednesday’s meeting prior to the vote.

Next year’s Formula SAE president Pauline Menoret said the organization already spends its own money and the cuts will cause further out-of-pocket expenses.

“We spend at least $30,000 a year of our own money just to build the car, not including all of our sponsors… We’re already funded at the bare minimum,” Menoret said.

Menoret also highlighted Formula SAE’s strong performance in competitions, giving UConn international recognition.

Morgan Simpson, vice president of the women’s rugby team, said her team reached the $12,000 limit last semester and would be further hurt by the new cuts.

“Last semester, when we progressed to the national championship, instead of being able to travel like other teams, we had to drive through the night in our own cars on our own expenses. This means that we arrived to the tournament tired and without any money to give our team for the expenses that they had incurred,” Simpson said.

The USG executive board stressed the need to pass the funding cuts, in order to prevent the organization from going into a deficit.

Jani and Byrd urged the Senate to pass the new policies, saying student organizations would face more severe cuts if spending wasn’t reduced for next semester.

“The implications of [leaving the policies the same] is that when next year, when we’re in a $189,000 deficit, when we run out of money, we stop funding,” Byrd said.

In 2014, USG had a surplus, causing them to increase funding. Now, the organization can no longer sustain that spending and is required to cut back to avoid going into a deficit, according to Byrd.

Looking forward, USG president-elect Irma Valverde and comptroller-elect Seeya Sodani said they will be working to cut USG’s internal spending on events, banquets and wages for student workers.

Valverde also said she would work to campaign to increase student fees to fund USG next year, to avoid future budget issues that would affect student organizations.

Byrd said while the Board of Trustees has been resistant to fee increases lately, if the work begins next year, the organization can better fund groups in the future.

“I think we have a really good case for a fee increase because we’re funding… twice as many groups with perhaps three times as much funding with the same amount of money. That’s insane,” Byrd said.


Schae Beaudoin is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached by email at schae.beaudoin@uconn.edu.