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Clubs miss details at budget appeals; Budget appeals went smoothly, senators say

By Jesse Bade and Maggie Urban-WaalaStaff Writers

There was an exciting amount of controversy at the Appropriation Appeals meeting held two weeks ago by the Student Government Association regarding the $276,000.34 that was allocated to Hofstra clubs. During the budget weekend, the Appropriations Chair Megan Andrews worked with comptroller Yeri Lee and fellow committee members to allocate funds to each of the clubs. “With the allocation process, there is a very detailed policy series that is consistent for all clubs, so that is the first thing that the Appropriations Committee will look at: are the policies being followed?” said Andrews in reference to how SGA allocates funds. The committee reviewed 84 club proposals, and funds were allocated following the reviews. It was the job of each club to come to the appeals meeting while the senate decided what funds would be directed to each club. While the appeals process was generally routine, there was confusion on two particular topics: a $1,500 cap on salaries for sports coaches and the lack of transportation funds. “The decision was made based on the number of members in the average sports club. So $1,500 a year is for the average sports club of 30 people. That is their student activity fee being brought back,” said Andrews. She said that while sports clubs require a significant amount of money to function, the amount of students in each club does not proportionally match this number. Ultimately, SGA decided that the cap on salaries was necessary. Devin Brosnan, who is a freshman and the Rules Chair and freshman at Hofstra, agreed with Andrews. “It is hard to give a lot of money for coaches because if every team wants $15,000 for a coach then we are going to run out of money. So, I think it was a good idea,” stated Brosnan. It became clear throughout the meeting that it was not the cap that was the biggest issue, but rather club presidents and treasurers being generally unaware that a cap existed. Andrews explained that it was implemented in the beginning of the year as part of SGA’s policy series. This then brought up another issue. Clubs still seemed to miss information about SGA policies. For senior Jessica Yacono, the treasurer of Hofstra Women’s Rugby Club, the very existence of an SGA policy series was new information at the appeals meeting. “We did not know there was a policy book. Katie, the president, and I were talking about it, and we think that SGA at the beginning of the school year should hand it out to everybody or have a Q&A with the handbook, because it gets really confusing and not everyone knows that it’s online,” said Yacono. Senator Victoria Rametta said that SGA does make the information public, but agreed there is a problem with the distribution of information. “Sadly, I think a lot of clubs do not read our SGA policy series, nor are they aware of some of the caps and restrictions that we have. We have certain rules and regulations that either we put in place, that are there [already] or that are suggested to us by others that we never really fully get to the clubs,” said Rametta. She added that, while SGA makes an effort to talk to clubs, clubs will typically become overwhelmed with the amount of information that is being shared. Rametta suggested that it is important for SGA to find a better way to get information out to its organizations. “I do still see it as SGA’s responsibility to get the word out. The burden falls on us,” said Rametta. For the issue of funding for transportation being postponed, some clubs were initially unaware that they were simply waiting until next semester to receive any money for transportation. Yacono said that she did not know of the change, but once she found out that transportation funds will be allocated she was relieved. Transportation is a major part of rugby’s spending. Andrews explained that Appropriations decided not to allocate transportation funds next semester because transportation could not be funded for all the clubs that requested it. The committee decided to cut funds across the board to be fair. Although there was unity in the decision by SGA to exclude funds for transportation during the original budget weekend, Rametta thought it would have been a good idea to fund it during the appeals process. “It made sense for the weekend, because they [SGA] always want to be under budget for the weekend and you want to have enough money for appropriations for the following semester, and that makes sense. However, at the end of the weekend and when senate came on Thursday we had more than $15,000 that we could have spent. And to me I’d rather have all the clubs do one thing rather than have to come back, and put clubs through another hassle, another loop, just to get more money,” stated Rametta. Rametta was also involved in the debate of Musikfest and the amount of money that should be allocated to the clubs responsible for the event, including Hofstra Concerts and Entertainment Unlimited. Over $80,000 had already been allocated to the two clubs for the high expenses of Musikfest and related activities. There was insistence from some senators that leftover funds from the appeals process should be re-allocated to the entertainment clubs, to help match the fees of popular artists.In the past, Hofstra has hosted high profile performers ranging from The Rolling Stones to most recently Snoop Dogg. In order to maintain the ability to attract high profile artists, senators like Michael Stankiewicz, Chair of Student Affairs, argued that allocations for the clubs should in fact be increased. On the topic of more money being allocated to Hofstra Concerts and Entertainment Unlimited, SGA was far from unanimous on a decision. Rametta opposed the allocation, citing low attendance to concerts in recent years as well as the already significant sums that the clubs had already been given. Stankiewicz believed, however, that Musikfest is an event that can serve all students and alumni. Other clubs that require certain athletic or other skills, he felt, areless inclusive. “Everyone loves music,” said Stankiewicz. “They need it, it’s a tradition.” Stankiewicz reiterated that each club can come back to Appropriations and ask for more money, and strongly suggested that they should do so. Regarding Hofstra Concerts and EU’s allocations, however, he believes that money is needed sooner rather than later. For Musikfest, Stankiewicz said that there needs to be enough time to plan and book artists in a timely manner, while many other clubs may not require that same level of forethought for their events. Although the proposition to increase entertainment funds was eventually turned down by a majority in the senate, Stankiewicz was glad for the time spent discussing the potential increase. “We’re here to serve students. It’s not ‘Government Association,’ that wouldn’t make sense.” Overall, there appeared to be consensus among senators that the budget meeting went well. Brosnan was particularly impressed with the work and diligence of Andrews. “It went, I thought, better than expected. I thought there was going to be more people who were going to be upset. It was a big part because of Megan Andrews, because of how transparent she was and how good she explained everything…there wasn’t a lot of ambiguity,” he said. Yacono also commented on a positive atmosphere throughout the appeals process. “It was a lot better than I thought it was going to be,” Yacono said.”They [clubs] were very nice and very willing to listen. They asked a lot of questions, which I liked.”

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