APRIL 11, 2012
Our opinion: You buy in student activity fees for $90 a year, but the SGA plays your chips
You spend $90 a year in Student Activity Fees, but where does it all go? Well, each year, the Student Government Association gets together in budget committees at the college wide and campus wide level to allocate the funds to all the clubs and organizations involved in student life activities, including themselves. We at the Collegian think this is a conflict of interest. Is it ethical to be in charge of distributing the same money you are requesting? “That’s the question,” said Deborah Homer, dean of student services. According to Board of Regents policy on mandatory student fees, budget committees should be composed of at least 50 percent students appointed by the SGA and “institutions and student government associations should make a concerted effort to include broad representation among the students appointed
SGA stacks the deck
to the committee.” How is it considered “broad representation” when you have only SGA members on the committee making decisions? The GPC financial codes takes unfairness a step further by making it a policy
requiring that the only student representatives allowed to sit on these committees are SGA members. The thinking behind this is that SGA members are elected by the students, so they are a broad enough representation of the student population. Until it comes time to divide the money, where they favor giving money to themselves and other organizations that they are apart of first. The Collegian sent emails to each of the SGA Presidents on March 28, inviting their response to these issues and we received no response.
* Members Only
Per GPC policy, only SGA members are allowed to sit on budget committees. This is a problem because the representation on the council is not impartial when it comes to other SGA branches such as the Jaguar Activity Group.
At the college wide budget committee deliberations, Decatur SGA Senator Eboni Ivery advocated for the Open House and Star Leader budget requests because she takes part in both organizations. As a direct result, the Open House budget received an increase in funding of over $1000 and the Star Leaders budget received an increase of over $2000.
Which other organizations that SGA members are not apart of get cut to fund these increases?
* Handouts & Handoffs
Budget committee meetings are divided into two parts - presentations and deliberations. During presentations, clubs
* Off The Top
A certain amount of the SAF budget has been determined to be fixed cost. Among these fixed costs are all the SGA stipends. Before anyone else even gets a shot at the budget SGA stipends are automatically taken from the pool of student activity fee money and put into the pockets of the SGA officers. For 2012 that was $151,250 and for 2013, because they added a new position, it amounts to $160,750.
Why do other organizations have to ask for their stipends, but not the SGA?
* Double Dipping When you want to request money for a club
or organization, you have to first figure out which pot of money you can request from - college wide or campus. College wide budget is reserved for organizations that serve each campus equally, while the campus wide budgets are local to each campus.
Thanks to the SGA’s strategic positioning, they
are allowed to take money from both the college wide budget and the campus wide budgets. Their stipends come from the college wide budget, yet all the money for their clothes, food and travel come from the campus wide budgets. Basically, they get paid before anyone else and
get a higher (sometimes the highest) cut of the money than other campus wide organizations. Why is the SGA allowed to take money from both budgets?
and organizations are allowed a total of 10 minutes each to explain their funding request. The first five minutes are for the requester to present and the latter five minutes are for the committee to ask questions.
During deliberations, the committee discusses and decides on which organizations to cut. When it came time to
present on behalf of the SGA at the Clarkston campus budget meeting, SGA President and Chairman of
Kadiata Sy, stepped out from behind her budget chairman duties to request money from her fellow peers. So, let me get this straight - you can be in charge of a budget committee and ask for money from that same committee? Yep. It also shouldn’t surprise you that during the deliberations when “no more presenting is allowed,” voting members of the committee step outside of the decision making boundary to “clarify” any questions about requests of
their organization or an organization they are apart of. SGA and branches of the
SGA get as much time as they need, everyone else gets 10 minutes.
Fair across the board? $160,750 $66,210
SGA STIPENDS SGA TRAVEL *SGA Stipends for FY 13
Health, Wellness and Recreation
Student Life Office
$17,311 SGA CLOTHING GPC GPC
SGA FOOD $13,287
*SGA travel, clothing, and food are from FY12 budget and are estimated for Dunwoody campus SGA because they failed to provide an itemized list of expenses
Officers Clubs Programs $635,267 $537,360 $374,078 $300,901 $192,554 $159,503
College Wide Events
David Schick contributed to this editorial Illustrations by Darian Mathews and Nathan Guest
Chip stacks from the 2012 student activity fee budget SGA
The Collegian $45,404
Double Dipping Off The Top
Handouts & Handoffs
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