Boris Tsang / Sun Assistant Photography Editor

In the final S.A. meeting of the year, assembly members discuss funding for the Senior Days committee.

May 18, 2018

Senior Days Committee Restructures Finances Following Nearly $33,000 Deficit in 2016-17 Fiscal Year

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The Senior Days Committee plans to restructure financial planning this year after delayed charges and overages in the 2016 fiscal year led to a nearly $33,000 budget deficit.

According the the Senior Days funding application for the 2018-2020 funding cycle, “at least some of the deficit is essentially an invoice for costs incurred by Convocation Committee,” but Karli Buday, assistant director of community education and class pride, attributes the shortfall to delayed invoices from the previous year.

Buday said that initially it appeared that Senior Days Committee funds had to be taken to cover overages in last year’s convocation, but further analysis suggested otherwise. According to Buday, both Senior Days and Convocation had overages last year, but the deficits were unrelated to each other.

“Given the status of Biden and the extra security cost,“ Buday said, citing the 74 extra security guards needed for former Vice President Joe Biden’s speech last May, “convocation did go over and the school is trying to rectify that still, trying to find money to support those overages.”

Buday added that after looking at all the transactions that hit senior days, it was “really two separate situations.”

In the fiscal year that ran from July 2016 to June 2017, the Senior Days Committee ran a deficit of $32,936.49 due to charges from the Senior Barbecue, paintball, and assorted other costs that were delayed from the previous year, according to Buday.

“After having some time to review the budgets, the Senior Days transactions that hit the wrong fiscal year was 100% why the 2018 Senior Days Committee was down 33k (ish),” Buday said in an email to The Sun.

Jennifer Davis, associate director for Cornell’s School of Continuing Education, was the adviser for Senior Days, Class Council, and Convocation for over 10 years before being replaced by Buday last year, and said she was unaware of the deficit for the committee she oversaw.

In an email to The Sun, Davis said, “I left my post with an understanding that there wasn’t a deficit.”

Buday attributed the confusion to the staff transition and late charges, which only applied after Davis left her position.

Gabe Kaufman ’18, vice president of finance for the Student Assembly, also refuted the idea that any Senior Days funds were used to pay for convocation.

“As far as I am aware, any idea that the “alleged” Senior Days’ transfer funded the 2017 speaker’s honorarium is not true,” Kaufman said.

Buday raised the possibility that the previous budget deficit could have had an effect on this year’s Senior Days ticket prices.

“With the deficit of 33,000 … I do think potentially we could have lowered ticket sales if we were operating on a full budget, or we could have taken that money and offered free events”

In the final S.A. meeting of the year, the assembly extensively debated how much SAFC funding provided to the Senior Days committee should be committed to free non-ticketed events, currently seven of twenty-five events.

Buday said that the funding issues and S.A. debate should be part of, “a larger University conversation actually around what is the meaning of senior days.”

One innovation Buday highlighted this year is the pilot of Engaged Cornell Service Day, a volunteer event that seniors can take part in to volunteer in support of the environment, youth and community development.

“It’s about creating memories and friendships with your friends that are soon to be graduating, but there is a way we can do that rather than having wine tours and twilight cruises,” Buday said.