Most student groups not fully funded

Groups can request a follow-up meeting to contest intitial student service fees recommendations.

Most student groups not fully funded

Jenna Wilcox


 The Student Services Fees Committee released their initial recommendations for student group funding last week.

While most groups were recommended some kind of funding, a majority of them were not recommended the full amount they requested. Altogether groups requested more than $3 million, but the committee only recommended about $2.1 million.

The committee trimmed food, travel and any other expenses that it didn’t see as a justified use of student fees money, like ski trips or gifts for graduating student group members.

Kyle Kroll, chairman of the student groups fees committee, said the committee spent 22 hours listening to presentations from groups requesting student fees and then deliberated how much to recommend for each group.

Collegians for a Constructive Tomorrow took the biggest cut. The group was recommended a little more than $90,000, $108,000 less than they requested.

Groups like the American Medical Student Association, La Raza Student Cultural Center and the Black Student Union all saw more than $15,000 cut from their budgets.

BSU President Arsenio Ward said the cut will significantly limit the group’s resources.

“I don’t understand where they’re finding reasoning to eliminate [funds],” he said. “It’s limiting what the students can do.”

The recommendation of $49,065 is still an improvement from last year when BSU failed its audit and wasn’t initially recommended any student fees at all. The group appealed and was eventually granted about $55,000.

Five groups this year might not see any funding after the committee’s recommendations.

The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the Fraternity Purchasing Association, the Interfraternity Council, Men’s Club Basketball and STAND: A Student Anti-Genocide Coalition were each recommended no funding.

Groups can request a follow-up meeting to present additional information to the committee before the final deliberations begin on March 3.

Kroll said one of the biggest reasons groups weren’t recommended the full amount is because they didn’t justify their expenses.

Some of the other guidelines include proof of how programs and services benefit students who pay the student services fee, demonstration of financial need that cannot be fulfilled with alternative sources and that the group targets the largest number of students consistent with the need.

Men’s Club Basketball requested fees for the first time this year but was denied the full $5,000 request.

President Troy Beckman said the club needs funding for tournaments, uniforms, renting practice space and travel expenses, and in the past, they have paid for it all out of pocket.

“Each player puts up around $300 every year,” Beckman said. “All the burden is on us because we don’t get any funding from the University [of Minnesota] like most other groups.”

Kroll said the committee was concerned because the club hasn’t changed in more than a year, and students who want to join have to go through tryouts.

“It’s not open to all students, which is one of the guidelines,” Kroll said. “They should get the money through the recreational department.”

Beckman said they already tried that route without any results.

Other groups have run into a variety of roadblocks when trying to get funding as well.

The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics was turned down for their request of $4,000 because they didn’t fill out their application correctly.

“Typically they would have to provide a program breakdown, but they didn’t do that for us,” Kroll said. “Now they’ll need to revise the budget to reflect how the fees will be spent.”

Devin Vollmer, the president of AIAA, said they didn’t know how they should have better presented their information, but they are planning to send a request for a follow-up meeting.

“Spending money on pizza could actually bankrupt the group, which seems kind of silly,” he said, explaining how small the AIAA’s budget is.

Before the fees committee even got started with their deliberations, four groups were turned down because of their initial applications.

The Art of Living Club, Forensic Science Club, the Friendship Association of Chinese Students and Scholars and the Graduate Christian Fellowship will have to appeal for funding because they all turned in late applications.

Appeals committee member Annie Chen said all of the groups except the Art of Living Club said the reason they were late was because it was their first time applying.

“A lot of other student groups weren’t late though,” Chen said. “Everyone else still managed to be on time.”