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Friday, May 24, 2019

Activities & Organizations

SFAC applauds SGA’s initiative for lower funding


SGA Student Body President Shaun Theriot-Smith recites SFAC recommendations during the organization's Nov. 18 meeting. | Leen Basharat/The Cougar

SGA Student Body President Shaun Theriot-Smith recites SFAC recommendations during the organization’s Nov. 18 meeting. | Leen Basharat/The Cougar

 

Out of all departments and organizations that presented to the Student Fees Advisory Committee, the Student Government Association was the only organization that asked for a decrease in their budget, and SFAC granted it.

According to Speaker of the House John Fields, SGA wanted to set an example for other organizations on campus while promoting students’ constant concerns about increase of fees and tuition each semester.

“As a whole, I hope it does serve as an example,” Fields said. “We can’t say we want to lower student fees without saying we’re willing to cut some of our budget as well.”

The organization asked for a 10 percent decrease in their total FY17 funding and a $4,859 decrease to their base augmentation.

SFAC greatly supported the organization’s decision to decrease rather than increase the amount of money needed for the organization.

“SFAC applauds your base reduction initiative and hopes it will help establish a precedent for cost reductions and fiscal restraint,” SFAC said. “This committee also applauds this administration’s abandonment of many wasteful and frivolous endeavors brought forth by your predecessors.”

In contrast to previous years, SGA’s current administration is focusing more on their mission as an advocacy organization rather than catering to the public through expensive events.

“Often times, it gets easy to get enamored with the events we do with athletics and some of these high profile events on campus that we lose sight of what SGA does at the end of the day,” SGA Student Body President Shaun Theriot-Smith said.

“SGA at its core is an advocacy organization, not so much a school spirit machine or a device for leaders to get access to the cool stuff. We got rid of things like that to refocus on what SGA truly should be working on.”

SFAC also commented on SGA’s re-establishment of relations with other entities on campus.

“Action to focus SGA’s energy toward student advocacy and rebuilding damaged relationships with University administration has certainly placed the organization in a more credible position to advance student interest,” SFAC said.

Moving forward, Theriot-Smith wants to expand on SFAC’s recommendation and continue to invest in SGA’s partnerships across campus.

“Last year, SGA and other student leaders had a lot of issues with leadership in administration and finance and my predecessor, and his team opted to take a more direct and more destructive route in asking for that leadership to change that colored SGA as possibly hostile, not hospitable, to work with,” Theriot-Smith said.

“(We) really focused on the integrity as an organization and willingness of other departments and organizations to want to work with us as a non-hostile entity.”

Theriot-Smith stresses that although SFAC and SGA have changed their focus, it is ultimately to aid the financial burden that is being placed on their constituents.

“We are coming off the heels of a major expansion to the student fees and students aren’t really interested in seeing their fee bill increase every semester.” Theriot-Smith said.

“We have to realistically check to make sure we’re actually portioning funds so that we’re creating sustainable traditions and expectations for future student leaders on campus. I don’t think we were doing that for the past couple of years and this is the first time we were able to recalibrate ourselves for the future.”

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