By Written by David Zuniga and Alexander Zelinski
In line with the Student Government Association's (SGA) efforts to inform, advocate, and be transparent, we appreciate The Chronicle's interest in SGA's budgeting and appropriations practices. Therefore, allow us to address concerns published in the editorial titled "Calling for Transparency in Club Appropriations", (February 16th )
First, there is confusion between our budget weekends and our weekly appropriations meetings. This spring, SGA will allocate organizations' budgets for the upcoming semester based on a review of their submitted budget proposal at the end of the current semester. Organizations with advanced operating costs will be allocated the money the semester said costs are due, this will not disrupt any organizations' functioning. The procedures that organizations must adhere to (such as documented quotes) are requested by the University and enforced by the Appropriations Committee. In addition to budget weekend, organizations may sign up for one of our weekly Appropriations Committee meetings throughout the semester to request funding for new initiatives. When given the paperwork for these meetings, organizations are informed of our budgeting guidelines and procedures.
As reported in a previous article, for every $1 we have to allocate, $3 is requested, ("Show Me the Money!" February 9), therefore SGA is tasked with stretching each dollar to it's maximum utility for the student body. Herein is why clubs are not fully granted requests. The questions the Appropriations Committee answers when reviewing each budget are: "Are we allowed to fund for this, what requests result in the greatest benefit for students, and do we have the money to give?" Should organizations request money for things SGA is prohibited from funding, notification of this decision is a fair request that we will task the Appropriations Committee with looking into.
It should be noted that the Committee spends hours reviewing over 180 budget proposals and deliberating how to allocate funds at their budget weekend. Giving each club a 15 minute time slot would add up to over 45 hours of consideration that weekend. In addition, some proposals take longer to review than others, and being able to coordinate the Committee's schedule with over 150 club leaders is a logistical impossibility.
In addition, Appropriations Chairman Nick Gomes has complied with our request to explain to organizations the reasoning behind the committee's decisions during weekly Appropriations meetings, in an effort to increase transparency as promised. A final thing to consider: At any time, any day, any organization can send SGA_appropriations@pride.