On April 12, the Student Government Senate met in a special session to discuss the allocation of the Activity and Service Fee budget. The budget was placed through a vetted process over a six-month period before it eventually reached the special session via the A&SF Budget Committee, which is comprised of student leaders. The presentation of the A&SF budget is a momentous occasion, as it is made up of $18.9 million of student fees. These student fees come from the $10.79 that all students pay per credit hour in their tuition to the university. Ultimately, these funds help to pay for services, such as the Recreation and Wellness Center, the Student Union, All Knight Study and the free Scantrons given out by the Student Government Association.
During the special session, debate focused on two specific issues: the funding of the College of Medicine Student Council through Student Outreach Services and the funding of the registered student organization known as the Graduate Student Association. For the College of Medicine Student Council, the debate centered on the fact that the organizations at the College of Medicine were not registered with the Office of Student Involvement, which is a stipulation of receiving funding under the Finance Code. In the end, a compromise was made that allowed these organizations to work with the Office of Student Involvement to become registered and, thus, receive funding.
The second issue that was brought up dealt with adding the Graduate Student Association into the A&SF budget. This was a controversial topic because the Graduate Student Association did not request any funding this year in the budget because the new Graduate Student Assembly had planned to take on those costs. However, the Graduate Student Assembly was repealed from the Student Government Association Constitution and, thus, funding for this agency did not occur. In the end, the Graduate Student Association was not placed in the budget. This decision was reached after concluding that the agency was not fiscally responsible, as it was one of the highest reverting organizations of SGA funds during the 2010 – 2011 fiscal year. It was recommended that the Graduate Student Association go through the Student Government Senate to request funding, so that there will be more Senate oversight. The additional oversight will ultimately ensure that the organization spends any allocated money responsibly and efficiently.
All in all, the A&SF budget passed overwhelmingly during the special session and now awaits the signing of Student Body President Matthew McCann and Dr. Maribeth Ehasz, vice president of Student Development and Enrollment Services. Once signed by these two signatories, the budget will be officially accepted for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1, 2012.