January 29, 2009

Budget Cuts Prompt S.A. To Streamline Student Group Funds

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The University’s newfound dedication to stringent spending has permeated Cornell’s student-controlled funding as well. With the recent announcement that the Slope Day Programming Board is facing a budget shortfall, the Student Assembly has committed itself to tighter spending by introducing a new resolution to put a moratorium on new student groups for the rest of the semester.

“The shared costs that the University picked up for events and groups like Slope Day, we’re finding that we have to pick up those costs,” said Ryan Lavin ’09, S.A. president, noting that the Cornell administration has typically paid for Slope Day costs like security.

The sponsors of the resolution — including Lavin, Greg Mezey ’09, S.A. vice president of finance, and Anthony Miller ’10, S.A. vice president of internal operations — are hoping that by curbing the creation of new groups, funding can be carefully audited and subsequently streamlined.

Lavin used the example of the University’s multiple club soccer teams. Since they all play in the same league, he said, there is an opportunity to eliminate costs by combining them.

The resolution claims that, “the number of student groups has grown drastically over recent years, and a number of these groups’ mission statements overlap and coincide with other groups whose purposes are particularly similar.”

The resolution will be voted on at tomorrow’s meeting.

In the future, the S.A. is considering raising the Student Activity Fee in order to accommodate all of the groups and events on campus. He and his colleagues have spent the past few days meeting with Kent Hubbell ’67, dean of students, and Susan Murphy ’73, vice president of student and academic affairs, as well as the leaders of various student organizations to determine their budget needs.

Lavin says he is grateful that the administration has kept him in the loop on all of the University’s budget evaluations, but maintains that he knows no more information than was sent to the entire student body through President David Skorton’s e-mails.

At the moment, the S.A. is looking for possible ways to allocate more money for Slope Day, such as having another organization cosponsor the event. However, the additional allocation of money from the Student Activity Fee is not possible at the moment.