Student groups disappointed by funding recommendations

A number of student organizations weren’t recommended to receive their full funding requests.

Some student groups are embarking on a tug-of-war for funding after initial recommendations from the Student Services Fees Committee were released Thursday.

Groups like the Veterans Transition Center and the Black Student Union weren’t recommended to receive their full requests. Others, such as the American Indian Student Cultural Center and the African Student Association lost their funding altogether because of logistical complications.

Last year, the Veterans Transition Center received $4,870 in funding and requested $20,000 for the 2008-2009 academic year. The fees committee approved $6,000 for next year.

Officers requested more funding because of increased membership and a larger meeting space that requires furnishing.

“It threw a gear in the planning,” Veterans Transition Center co-president Justin Riechers said. “Now it’s not so much focused on what we can do for our veterans, it’s more or less how we can still have these events.”

The fees committee cited “discrepancies as to where (other) funds were coming from” as one of the reasons why the center didn’t get the full request. Several groups get additional funding on top of what the University gives them, which must be disclosed.

“It’s kind of peculiar that they wrote that down as a reason,” Riechers said. “We fully disclosed it during the presentation, because I like to talk.”

Veterans Transition Center Treasurer Tim Fuller was also confused by the committee’s recommendation.

“They say that they want us to be here,” he said. “But they don’t want to provide the funding for it.”

Black Student Union President Wilfried Zehourou was also frustrated with the funding recommendation.

BSU received $43,915 last year and requested $90,000 for the 2008-2009 academic year, but was only recommended for $46,000.

“I strongly believe the amount I requested was reasonable,” Zehourou said.

He said the group has also raised more than $25,000 this year through grants and other funding.

“If you add that to the figure that we were given, we’ve operated with a budget around $75,000 to $80,000 this year,” Zehourou said. “But most of it has come from our own account.”

“The committee saw a distinct lack of effort made to expand programming for the upcoming year, with the same number of events planned and the substantial requested increase earmarked almost entirely for more well-known speakers,” the committee wrote.

In an official statement, Zehourou wrote, “I chuckle and ask, ‘have they seen our event calendar?’ It is not the quantity, as we do have a great number, but it is rather the quality of our programming and our impeccable fundraising, accounting, and recordkeeping which makes us an exceptional organization.”

One of the subcommittee chairwomen, Bree Richards, said that although the Black Student Union wants to bring in more well-known speakers, they hadn’t negotiated prices or dates at the time of the presentation.

“It was more a lack of planning on their part,” she said.

The American Indian Student Cultural Center, which received $26,520 last year, was not recommended for any funding for the 2008-2009 year, despite requesting $50,000.

Richards said the center didn’t appear for their presentation, but have a special meeting scheduled with the committee this week.

“I have no idea if they’ll get the money,” she said. “I don’t know the circumstances they had.”

Marisa Carr, the center’s president, was not available for comment.

The African Student Association also requested nearly double what they received last year and lost all funding because of an incomplete application.

The fee committee’s recommendations aren’t final, however, as groups can appeal the initial findings during public hearings this week or request special meetings with the committee. The final recommendations will be released April 2.

“I’m curious to what some student associations do,” Riechers said. “Maybe they can teach me one or two things, because they are really pulling in some money.”