Student groups set to appeal ASG funding

Tonight’s the night.

Student group leaders will appear at the Associated Student Government’s meeting tonight to appeal the funding recommendations of the Student Activities Finance Board — and many of them are hungry for a bigger piece of the pie.

Student groups requested about $300,000 more than last year, although the Student Activities Fee increase boosted Senate’s pool of available funds this year by only half that much.

This year student groups asked for $1.4 million from a $670,000 pool, which ASG doles out to A-status groups. Two weeks ago SAFB made its funding recommendations, giving student groups time to plan their appeals to Senate for more money.

During tonight’s appeal process, senators first can add to the overall pool by cutting funding from some groups. Once senators finish making cuts, they can use the remaining money to fund any events. Senate’s decisions are final.

During last year’s appeals process, 15 groups received more money than SAFB recommended. Matt Barbour, president of Bisexual Gay and Lesbian Alliance, said the recommendations surprised and upset many groups, including his own.

“What surprised us most is that the things we ranked highest priority are the things we weren’t funded for,” Barbour said.

SAFB did not recommend funding for BGALA and College Republicans’ co-sponsored speaker Steve Gunderson, which Barbour said surprised him because of the program’s opportunity for community building.

“When you’re assessing the impact that a group’s events have on campus, sheer numbers are not the only factor,” Barbour said. “We cater to some specialized interests.”

Katy Quissell, president of Women’s Coalition, said she was annoyed but not surprised by SAFB’s decision to not recommend funding for the Women in Leadership conference and her group’s co-sponsorships.

The annual conference did not receive recommendations for funding again this year, according to Quissell, because SAFB says it does not fund conferences. But Quissell said all the speakers except the keynote are free, and so asking for money for only one speaker is reasonable.

“At this point it’s almost ridiculous that they don’t understand that,” Quissell said.

Co-sponsored programs, such as the ones Women’s Co. requested with For Members Only and with Hillel Cultural Life, often do not receive SAFB recommendations. ASG Financial Vice President Ramesh Srinivasan said that co-sponsored programs do not always succeed because the sponsoring groups don’t work together to plan the programs. But Quissell and other student group leaders said co-sponsoring fosters unity among student groups.

Not all student group leaders were displeased with the recommendations.

Claire Yoon, president of Dolphin Show, said she was satisfied with her group’s recommendations and the way SAFB handled funding this year.

“We think SAFB did a very fair job with allotting the funds this year,” said Yoon, a Weinberg junior.

Intramural Quiz Bowl was the only group to receive its entire request, but the group’s treasurer still plans on attending tonight’s Senate meeting.

“We still have to go there to make sure no one takes the money away from us,” said Dan Hirt, a Weinberg junior.

Senate is scheduled to meet at 6 p.m. in Norris 2E/2F and will begin reviewing groups in the order they appear in the funding recommendations.

Also tonight, Senate plans to confirm the three appointees on the executive board: Kate Duffy, campus public relations chair; Jazmin Portis, external relations chair; and Ed Sawma, technology director.