Last week, The Leader discovered that student organizations budgets were reduced by SGA: some by a little, some by a lot. After investigation, we came to find that SGA was no exception and that their budget was reduced as well, apparently due to a reduction in the allocation provided by EC administration.
SGA and other large organizations, including The Leader, will survive. Although we have been inconvenienced, and justifiably frustrated, we have the funding to continue with a few adjustments.
But what of the organizations that do not have a five figure budget? What of smaller organizations with a demanding presence on campus like Black Student Union? What of clubs that have an opportunity to travel but may not be able to do so anymore? Or clubs that may have to end their programming in March or April?
Although the size of every club is different, the effort, the passion, and more often than not the contribution to the campus is the same. A college such as ours is nothing without the hard work of dedicated students trying to share their passions with their peers.
More important than the budget reductions themselves, we were hardly given an explanation why. Some organizations were informed of their budget as late as a week ago, and some have yet to know what their budget is and thus have been unable to schedule programming.
Why were our budgets cut? Was it Student Affairs? After all, they did create two new positions; could it be that that came from our budgets? Are we being fairly consulted on how our student activity fees are being distributed? EC has been reporting a drop in enrollment and an increase in commuters; could it be that the decrease in people attending the school and staying in dorms is hurting EC to the point of taking our budgets?
Some answers to these questions are sensible, and possibly maybe none of these questions are the right one. The cause could be something completely off of our radar. What becomes an issue; however, is when we have zero explanation and have to ask these questions in the first place.
This does not have to be a loss; it could serve as a wake up call to all of us that maybe our system is not the most effective way to allocate fees.
Some clubs have already demonstrated examples of self advocacy and networking that in a way deflects the effects of their budget loss.
One example is the cultural clubs. On campus, we have clubs that represent a variety of students from different cultures, races, genders, orientations, etc. Together, under the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, they have created the Coalition of Multicultural Empowerment and as a unit create programming like Culture Fest, where for a week all of the clubs are represented and are in part supported by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.
Their example might be relevant to the rest of us.
We all work hard to do whatever it is our club was created to do. Even if you are not an active participant in clubs, we all pay a student activity fee.
We are all affected. Student organizations provide a service to all students, and we all pay for it. In this case, there is a lack of transparency that we should all be angry about.
Simply, something needs to change.