SAC clears up budget discrepancy

After careful accounting and a few impromptu meetings, the Student Allocations Committee (SAC) has cleared up what was thought to be a budget discrepancy.

At the close of the Feb. 5 SAC meeting, the remainder of the budget was recorded to be $22,528, but a cross-check with the records of Student Government Business Manager Dawn Shongood found a roughly $6,000 gap, with Shongood’s recorded balance being $16, 515.

Through meticulous backtracking, the current SAC representatives found the issue to be a glitch in bookkeeping from last semester. A recurring $5,000 allocation for annual Center of the Universe Party (COUP) security was not subtracted from the SAC budget at the beginning of the school year, in addition to several minor allocations approved throughout last semester.

Unfortunately, because the SAC was unaware of these previously allocated funds, they approved more expenditures in Fall than the ideal semesterly amount and are now faced with a slightly tighter budget than usual for Spring semester.

To address this pinch, SAC representatives have worked out temporary amendments to the bylaws in order to ensure that funds can be spread throughout the semester. For example, a $50 hard cap for walls is being enforced as well as a restriction on funds for sports and travels, so as to prioritize campus-wide events.

Additionally, the SAC has taken account of major, annual Spring events and are reserving at least $5,000 for Graduation COUP, Booze Cruise and other graduation festivities.

“We don’t want anyone to be concerned that these things won’t happen, they will happen,” fourth-year SAC Representative Jennifer Gierson said.

The SAC generally has eight representatives –– two per year – but the committee is currently experiencing two vacancies. The remaining six representatives, two of whom are newly appointed this semester, had to pull together to address the error made last semester.

Preventative, permanent measures have been taken to address the wider issue of communication. Amendments to the Duties and Expectations for the SAC Chair will be proposed to include weekly meetings with Shongood and collaboration with the Council of Academic Affairs (CAA) and Council of Green Affairs.

A Towne Meeting is scheduled for this Saturday at 2 p.m. to maintain transparency throughout the re-budgeting process and to hear any comments or concerns students may have.

“We want everyone to know that they can still come to us for allocations,” Interim SAC Chair James Montgomery said. “Just because we have a lower amount [this semester] doesn’t mean we don’t want to hear you,” Montgomery said.

“We definitely put hours into fixing it but it was part of our responsibility to take care of it,” Gierson said. “We all went forward and fixed it together.”

Bylaws outline criteria for funding such as a 75 percent maximum coverage of students’ travel expenses and a cap of $2,000 for COUP. The SAC makes amendments to the bylaws whenever necessary and these changes, as well as the weekly updated budget, are recorded in the SAC meeting minutes.

This past Sunday, the SAC allocated $1,230, of which the largest line item was Disability Awareness Month planning for $770, leaving the semesterly budget at $15, 270.

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