The Minnesota State University, Mankato Student Government listened to the recommendation for next year’s budget from the Student Allocations Committee (SAC). As recommended to the Student Government, the budget would require a majority vote from an all student referendum, due to the increase.
Departments that are funded by the Student Activity Fee were required to submit a budget request earlier in the year, along with a narrative that defines their reasoning for the requests.
SAC is then responsible for reviewing the budget requests from each department. This process includes an analysis of previous years funding, as well as a meeting with each department to further listen to their programming needs.
The committee then compiles all of these requests and creates a recommendation as to how they believe the funding should be allocated, subsequently presenting their recommendation to the senate.
The senate is then given several weeks to review the recommendation, speak with the organizations, and deliberate with their constituents.
Last night, Chair Zahara Osman and Vice-Chair Douglas Roberts of SAC presented a recommendation of a 1.77% increase to the fee, which, if passed, will require a referendum to be passed by the student body.
While this is a significant increase, there are several areas that will be taking a decrease from their request, which was done in order to stay below the cap of the fee.
Notable budget items included a denial for an increase in the Student Government president, vice-president, and speaker’s compensation of service. The executive team has been pushing for an increase in their stipends, and their request was denied, with SAC stating they believed this increase should be discussed by the senate, not the committee.
Another notable increase was in the budget for the Green Transportation Fee, which is the funding for buses. Last year, the fee received $303,000 and requested an increase of $135,310. SAC recommended a cut from their request, instead, offering a recommendation of a $97,000 increase.
One organization that took a hit in funding is the Fraternity & Sorority Life, which requested the same funding as last year, however, receiving a recommendation of a $5,000 decrease. SAC cited a decrease in enrollment as well as a history of not using the entire budget.
“I know that some departments may have some questions down the road,” said Vice-Chair Roberts, “they should know that we are available to reach out for clarification if they so choose to appeal.”
Senator Joey Novak, after hearing the presentation, wast trepidatiously in support of the recommendation.
“I understand a lot of the rationale behind things,” said Novak, “there are a couple of things that I have questions about, but hopefully those will get cleared up.”
Off-campus senator David Wing was particularly worried about the funding for Veterans Resource Programming, which did receive an increase, although it was only $500, compared to their requested $12,000.
“Seeing an increase of only $500 seems less than desirable,” said Wing, “I believe that those who have helped protect our company deserve a bit more of our help.”
With the current recommendation increasing the fee more than 2%, the Student Government will need to decide whether to make cuts to either bring the budget below that number, or push a referendum for the students to decide whether they approve of the increase or not.
SAC Chair Zahara Osman (left) and Vice-Chair Douglas Roberts (right) present their recommended budget to Student Government. (Maxwell Mayleben/The Reporter)
Write to Maxwell Mayleben at Maxwell.Mayleben@mnsu.edu