By Jesse BadeStaff Writer
The Student Government Association’s funding is being examined by the University Senate as they look into how much money is allocated to each club and try to understand how the appropriations process works.
“We would like to know how much was allocated to SGA by the university. Presumably, the amount that is allocated should be equal to the student activities fees that are collected, and this amount should fluctuate with enrollment,” said Professor Elizabeth Venuti, head of the Planning and Budget Committee on the University Senate at Hofstra.
According to Venuti and SGA President Tevon Hyman, several pre-professional clubs have expressed frustration toward the amount of money that has been allocated to them by SGA. Some of the deans, particularly in the School of Business, heading these clubs have reached out to SGAs controller with concerns about the fairness of the appropriations process, said Hyman.
Currently, the process of allocating funds is centralized and student driven within SGA. These clubs seek to have the ability to appropriate their own funds because they are not getting the money that they need, according to Venuti. This led to the introduction of the topic at the last University Senate meeting.
“The perception is that the pre-professional organizations, in some cases, are not receiving the funds that they need to carry out certain functions,” said Venuti.
However, there is also a problem with these organizations ability to follow the appropriate budget process, which seems to be caused by “a failure in communications between SGA and the organizations,” according to Venuti.
“At this point, we are on a fact gathering mission to better understand the appropriations process,” said Venuti.
This failure of communication and understanding may in fact be the root of the entire problem.
“In all there is a misunderstanding on the SGA policy toward allocation of our funds. This misunderstanding would have clubs reaching to the higher ups to fix the problem,” said Hyman.
Hyman also stated, during an SGA meeting last Thursday, that SGA is confident in the way that they allocate funds and have the administration on their side in the matter.
Sandra Johnson, Vice President of Student Affairs at Hofstra, stated, “SGA has gotten good at allocating funds.” Johnson described the process as clear, logical, and very equitable.
There is also student support of the appropriations process. Arthur Currier, a freshman majoring in biochemistry at Hofstra, attended last week’s SGA meeting and commented afterwards.
“I think they do a pretty good job, especially with allocating the money,” said Currier.
Still, the University Senate seeks a better knowledge of how SGA’s decision making processes work.
According to Venuti, many students and faculty advisors have expressed dissatisfaction with Collegiate Link, a database that chronicles student organizations, their memberships, budgets, events, and other engagement opportunities at Hofstra, as well. The senate seeks to understand why there is such discontent with Collegiate Link, as well as the benefits and downsides of using the database.
“Most importantly, we would like to ensure complete transparency in the budget and allocations process to ensure that all student organizations have an equal opportunity to receive their proportionate share of the student activities fees,” Venuti said.