Last week the New College Student Alliance (NCSA) budget was approved by the Student Allocations Committee (SAC) in what was described as a relatively smooth process. The Catalyst sat down with NCSA co-president Samuel “Sam” Thornton who described the inner workings of how the budget is approved and what new changes students can expect in the upcoming 2013-2014 academic year.
“I can tell you as a whole our budget is $3000 less than it was last year,” Thornton said. “We knew from the get-go that we wanted to cut [the co-president’s] pay somewhat. Previously we were making $10 an hour while everybody else makes $8 or $8.50 so we cut it down to $9 and we cut down the number of hours we’re allowed to log in each week by six. We saved a couple thousand and it seemed right because it seemed that there was too much hierarchy in the pay [scale].”
Three public meetings were held in April in order to take input from students on what they would have liked to have seen reflected in the new budget. Thornton noted that he did most of the number crunching himself. He began with the budget from last semester and reorganized it after noticing a few errors in ratios concerning wages per hour with actual amount of money.
Thornton and fellow co-president Daniel Ducassi approached the Office of Finance for an estimate on how much fee money would be coming up in the near future. They used that information to determine how much money they could spend and where it should be distributed. Thornton called the previous budget “jumbled up,” but said that now it was balanced. There were no cuts made to any allocating committee on campus, such as the speaker fund and club fund and were able to add a few dollars here and there to interest groups on campus.
“We added $670 to the Counseling and Wellness Center budget line for Plan B,” Thornton said. “We added about $2500 more to the Catalyst budget… cut our own discretionary in half from $8000 to $4000.”
Second-year and NSCA Chief Justice Casey Dodge remarked that the school now has HBO Go because “a lot of people on campus like Game of Thrones.”
“They cut the donut fund – like the donuts served in ACE Lounge, so that was $1000,” Dodge said. “I know that the Speaker of the Towne Meetings got a pay increase and that they equalized the pay in the different branches, so people with lesser duties got their pay reduced. We also pay $6200 for the SCAT services, so we asked SCAT if we could lower that, but we found out that students use SCAT far more than it would if they used the bus at ticket prices. They’re losing money on that, we are getting a way better deal than they are.”
Thornton said that he felt that so far students had reacted pretty positively to the budget.
“People are happy about it,” Thornton said. “We managed to create a few new TA positions and maintain allocating bodies at current level, overall which are good things. We’re pretty happy with it.”