FUSG slashes more than $16,000 from proposed budget

ELISHA VALLADARES-CORMIER
SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER

Franciscan University Student Government cut more than $16,000 from a budget presented during the formal meeting on Nov. 8 in order to stay under the $40,000 budget allocated to the organization by the Office of Student Life.

Several student clubs saw cuts to their proposed budgets as Student Government President Samantha Martinez continued her year-long mission to be more fiscally responsible than previous administrations. While many of the budget cuts were minimal, some clubs had their proposed amounts cut by as much as 30 percent.

During the meeting’s proceedings, several members of Student Government, including Martinez, strongly encouraged clubs with substantial changes in funding to apply for more funds during the spring semester, when additional money would become available. The reason for not allocating every club the full amount was to avoid appearing fiscally irresponsible to university administration, said Martinez.

“Dean David Schmiesing (Student Government advisor) expressed concern when we went over budget last semester, and I want to avoid Student Government being perceived as irresponsible with the university’s money,” said Martinez to the gathered senators.

Among the clubs that saw the largest cuts was the Students Creative Arts Network, which had requested $5,495 but was awarded $3,265, a cut of 40 percent. The reason for the large budget, said SCAN president Nick Meldrum, was the need to buy equipment for student-run projects.

Meldrum said that SCAN-students had previously been able to use equipment from the communication arts department, but were told at the beginning of the school year they would not be able to continue with this arrangement.

While the $2,250 Meldrum asked for equipment was reduced to $500, Martinez sympathized with him and encouraged Student Government senators to petition the communication arts department to allow students to use the equipment again.

Student Government cut its own budget substantially, as well. The organization originally asked for $18,872 but passed a budget of $13,672 in committee meetings before Wednesday, an amount that included stipend increases for Martinez, Vice President Gabe Gessler and PR Liaison Jasmine Cortez.

The move to increase these stipends had stirred debate among some senators in Student Government leading up to Wednesday’s meeting, but Martinez avoided a full-blown controversy by requesting that the stipends be lowered to the same amount as this semester.

Martinez said that after reflecting on the stipend increases, she came to the realization that it was inappropriate and unprofessional to be asking for a raise while cutting the budgets of other clubs.

Sen. Jeremiah Poff, the driving force in Student Government against the stipend raises, thanked Martinez for her decision, saying, “This move would have caused unnecessary controversy and criticism. It would have made Student Government look bad.”

With the cuts, Student Government was able to bring the overall budget, originally $56,232, down to just under its limit at $39,662.

Also addressed during the meeting was a court order from Monday’s informal meeting which placed Sen. Jacob Watson under contempt of court after Watson was perceived to be connected to the “discourtesy and disrespect that Mr. Locke [sic] showed to” the Court, according to the contempt order. Chief Justice Ben Idzik said that Watson was being removed from the order and publicly apologized to Watson what he called a misunderstanding on the judicial branch’s part.

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