By Ben Suazo, Assistant News Editor
SGA met Tuesday for its four-hour appeals hearing, where clubs requested extra money for their 2011-'12 budgets. Appropriations Chair Jordan Baer captured much of the atmosphere of the meeting, when he warned the senate that they had $200,000 less to work with than had been given the previous year.
"I'm going to be honest," Baer told the senate. "We really don't have the money to meet every appeal." He added that more money would be available in the coming spring and fall, cautioning the senate to support the allocations of Appropriations whenever they could because money was already very tight.
Baer emphasized that his goal was to be fair to all clubs: "I wanted to show clubs that SGA is not above or below them; if they have to suffer, SGA should suffer, too." Comptroller Brian Marquis explained that SGA took $27,000 out of its emergency funds to add to club funding.
Men's Rugby was the first club to present an appeal. The various tensions which both senate and club would have to wrestle with all night became immediately apparent, as President Rick Weiss explained that Rugby USA, their national league, is pushing for costlier professional standards from their member teams. Weiss explained that their allocated coaching budget would not be nearly enough to meet national standards. "The problem is, USA Rugby mandates the amount you pay a coach," Weiss said.
All night, SGA attempted to follow a standard of ensuring that minimal on-campus functionality could be met by clubs. Whenever the senate felt a club could function at an on-campus level, an appeal was denied.
Two clubs, Roller Hockey and the Equestrian Team, were especially nervous because they felt they could not even practice, or in the case of Equestrian Team, take lessons without additional money. Roller Hockey explained that members already pay exorbitant dues of $800, and its members cannot afford to also pay for the necessary ring time for team practice. "If we could practice anywhere on campus, we'd love to," the club told SGA, "but we've been told many, many times that we can't."
Concerns over the extreme monetary needs of the Equestrian Team led to passionate statements that their team ought to be adopted under The University's athletic association. Senator Ralph Dweck steered this agitated discussion back on topic, "Right now, we're responsible for funding," he reminded the senate.
Informed of the total $200,000 drop to SGA's budget by Vice President Luke Miedreich, Stefanie Gayer, president of the Equestrian Team, summed up the reactions of many other clubs to the evening's efforts and inevitable disappointments. "That's not even fair to you [SGA]."