On Monday night, Binghamton University’s Student Congress (SC) put the 2015-16 school year budget up for a vote, and addressed the concerns that came with it.
The upcoming year’s budget, distributed by the Student Association (SA), designates $719,945 for chartered groups. Before this could be passed, SC heard a number of motions and appeals from certain groups regarding their specific budgets, which included Engineers Without Borders and BU Speech & Debate.
The most contested item on the schedule was legislation that led to a miscommunication between Speech & Debate and the SC. Due to mismanaged funds in years past, the club was put on probation. According to Kate Tashman, SA vice president for finance-elect, the group’s failure to prove themselves led to the cutting of their budget from $19,000 to $0 for next year. The $19,000 will be returned to the Financial Committee’s discretionary funds and has not yet been allocated elsewhere.
“They’ll have to request their money from FinCo in chunks,” Tashman said. “If they need $4,000 for a tournament, they can come to them as early as they want and ask for it, and FinCo can deliberate.”
Appeals by student groups to the SC for budget reconsideration were due to SC Speaker J.P. Fauchet by Wednesday, March 22. Speech & Debate, Engineers Without Borders and the Korean-American Christian Fellowship all appealed their budgets. The requests by the groups were sent out on Thursday to the all SC representatives via email, who had until Saturday, April 25 to motion an appeal to bring it to a vote at the meeting.
Steven Lazickas, chair of the SA’s Student Life and Academics Committee and a sophomore double-majoring in history and political science, said he knew about Speech & Debate’s issues before the formal appeal process began and had informally expressed interest in advocating for the group on Tuesday, March 21, before the appeal window. Due to the premature nature of his statement, it was not recognized by the speaker.
“By 7:30 on Saturday, only one motion had been made, and that was for Engineers Without Borders,” said Fauchet, a junior majoring in computer science. “No one had made the motion for Speech & Debate.”
Members of the group attended the meeting to voice their concern about the loss of funds. Trevor Reddick, assistant coach for the club and a senior double-majoring in English and philosophy, said the loss was detrimental to both the club’s future and reputation.
“Our team has nationally been in the top 10 for 12 years,” he said. “We are currently ranked ninth. This has been used by the school and others online and in publications to market the idea that we are a ‘premiere public.’ This is largely due to our varsity and novice programs [which are] un-fundable without the Student Association.”
The appeal for a $3,000 budget for Engineers Without Borders was passed and they will receive their funding for next year, but no representatives motioned the appeal for the Korean-American Christian Fellowship. The overall budget for the 2015-16 school year was also passed.