SFAC publishes recommendations for FY 2018
The Student Fees Advisory Committee, which recommends funding for all student fee–funded organizations and services in the University, published their Fiscal Year 2018 Report Wednesday.
In the report, SFAC recommended generous funding for the A.D. Bruce Religion Center and Counseling and Psychological Services, re-approved a concert pool for Frontier Fiesta and Homecoming and criticized the Council of Ethnic Organizations and the Center for Student Involvement for allegedly misusing funds.
The report has been posted online and sent to President Renu Khator and Vice President of Student Affairs and Enrollment Services Richard Walker for review and approval.
Activities Funding Board
The Student Fees Advisory Committee recommended allocating a base budget of $166,999 to the Activities Funding Board for FY 2018. The AFB is allocated one percent of the Student Service Fee.
“The Activities Funding Board was created as a funding agency of SFAC to reach and support student organizations directly by providing them with the opportunity to apply for funding,” the report said. “We trust you to serve as responsible stewards of your portion of the student services fee, and are confident you will make decisions that benefit the student body.”
Athletics was granted a base budget of $4,407,707 for FY 2018. They will allocate more than $3 million for the renovation and construction of athletic facilities.
In their presentation to the committee, Vice President for Athletics Hunter Yurachek suggested that Athletics would be able to take a one percent reduction in funds over the next two years. Though expenses are rising, Athletics aims to reduce their impact on the student service fees.
“SFAC enjoyed your presentation and highly regards the hard work and dedication your students and staff commit to supporting students outside and inside the classroom,” the report said. “We recognize that the status of the University of Houston as ‘Tier One’ extends beyond academics and research, and we applaud your commitment to excellence on the national stage.”
A.D. Bruce Religion Center
The A.D. Bruce Religion Center was granted a base budget augmentation of $2,604 from FY 2017, bringing the base budget to $217,443 for FY 2018. The Religion Center requested a one-time allocation of $676,100.
The one-time request was meant for repairs on the building’s heavily damaged roof. For FY 2018, SFAC allocated $500,000 for roof repairs, suggesting rollover funds from last year and external funding could complete funding. The Religion Center requested $432,433 in 2015 for the same purpose, SFAC denied the request, citing a necessary rise in student service fees they decided not to pursue.
The religion center asked for funding to hire a graduate assistant as well, which SFAC denied.
“SFAC understands the important role the A.D. Bruce Religion Center plays in the lives of students,” the report said. “We appreciate the diverse opportunities for engagement and dialogue the center provides for students.”
Spirit of Houston
The Spirit of Houston requested a $61,600 base budget augmentation for FY 2018 and two one-time requests of $75,000 for travel and new instruments.
SFAC denied the base augmentation and granted a base budget of $286,400. Just like in FY 2017, SFAC approved the $75,0000 requested for travel, but denied the $75,000 one-time request to replace students’ aging instruments.
“We thank all band and spirit squad members for their embodiment of Cougar Pride,” SFAC wrote. “The students and staff of your unit are dedicated to supporting the student body and highly representing our University on a national level, and we appreciate your efforts.”
Blaffer Art Gallery
The Student Fees Advisory Committee recommended funding of a $21,500 base budget for the Blaffer Art Museum.
Blaffer’s request for a one-time allocation of $8,000 to support a student-led programming initiative was denied.
“While we understand the benefits this initiative could provide, given its academic nature, we believe it is more appropriately funded through sources outside the student service fee,” the final report read.
Campus Recreation and Wellness Center
Campus Recreation was granted a $302,493 base budget for FY 2018.
In their presentation to SFAC, Campus Recreation requested a reduction to their base budget, which will be $302,493 in FY 2018. As an auxiliary service, Campus Recreation also has a dedicated student fee that brings them an additional $8 million. The service also has a separate fee, the Recreational Facility Fee, which SFAC anticipates will fund approximately $8,711,250 in FY 2018.
“The committee commends the vast collaboration efforts this center participates in and their continued support of the growth in sport clubs, allowing them to become more competitive at a national level,” the report said.
Center for Diversity and Inclusion
SFAC recommended a base increase of $2,241 for the Center for Diversity and Inclusion in FY 2018, bringing the base budget to $254,671.
For FY 2017, SFAC approved CDI’s one-time request for a graduate assistant for the Achievement Initiative for Minority Males, a program focused on retaining minority male students in college.
However, the committee denied the request for 2018, citing the program’s minimal involvement on campus. SFAC also denied CDI’s one-time request for travel costs to the Black and Brown College Bound Summit in Tampa in 2018.
“Although we see the importance for a program like AIMM, the committee feels that after evaluating the program and the impact it has served the UH community, it does not have a big enough involvement of students or an impact on a majority of minority males at the university,” the report said.
Center for Fraternity and Sorority Life
SFAC recommended a base budget increase of $13,518 for the Center for Fraternity and Sorority Life for FY 2018.
At their presentation, CFSL requested a one-time increase of $29,632 to fund a graduate assistant for risk and safety, which was denied.
“We believe that greater measures should be taken by current staff to implement programs that reach more members within each chapter that is a part of this center, as opposed to only designated chapter members,” the report said.
Center for Student Involvement
SFAC approved a $52,311 reduction to the base budget for the Center for Student Involvement in addition to fulfilling $36,574 in one-time requests for FY 2017. For FY 2018, CSI will receive a base budget of $773,546.
The base budget reduction accounts for the transfer of one employee to DSAES Business Services and a $10,088 merit increase. The approved one time requests will fund development programs and student service initiatives, as well as the expansion of student services to the UH Sugar Land campus and the opportunity for UH students to participate in the Clinton Global Initiative. SFAC denied six one time requests totaling $96,830.
Finally, the Committee reminded CSI that SFAC funds may only be used for their approved purposes.
“The committee was deeply concerned with the way your unit has chosen to fund programs using lapsed salary for the past several years,” the report said. “SFAC encourages your unit to provide future committees with greater clarity regarding the timing of expenditures and specific use of funds.”
Center for Student Media
The Student Fees Advisory Committee approved a base reduction of $61,188 for the Center for Student Media, bringing the Center’s budget for the upcoming year to $197,276. Additionally, SFAC approved a one time request for FY 2017 in the amount of $11,029.
The approval of CSM’s one time request will allow the organization to purchase more video production equipment. The reduction in CSM’s base budget resulted from a transfer of staff salary to DSAES Business Services.
“We understand that your unit provides services that help promote other units and are happy to support your continuing efforts,” the final report said.
Center for Students with DisABILITIES
For FY 2018, the Student Fees Advisory Committee proposed a $61,188 reduction to the base budget for the Center for Students with DisABILITIES. In total, SFAC allocated $372,652 to CSD.
The requested reduction will account for the transfer of an IT position to DSAES IT Services, who will be funding it going forward.
“We recognize that your unit provides a variety of important services to students not available elsewhere, and are happy to support these efforts,” the final report said.
Children’s Learning Centers
SFAC approved the base budget of $113,329 for the Children’s Learning Centers, which provide education and care to children of the UH community.
This continues the same budget as last year, which is what CLC Director Jennifer Skopal requested.
“This committee continues in the path of previous committees with our praise of the center’s high quality program and in particular its outstanding language enrichment program,” SFAC wrote.
Council of Ethnic Organizations
SFAC recommended a $2,000 reduction in the base funding of CEO, which coordinates programming and ethnic organizations and aims to promote inclusion on campus. The reduction will serve to move the venue for CEO’s annual Marketplace Variety Show to the Houston Room in the Student Center South, which is available to RSOs for events. SFAC approved base funding at $155,760.
In a special report, SFAC also recommended the creation of a task force to determine whether CEO should be advised by staff from the Center for Diversity and Inclusion instead of the Center for Student Involvement. SFAC also scolded the organization for shuttling SFAC funds to RSOs for events and programming.
“CEO is not a funding agency of SFAC, and was not given permission to act as such,” SFAC wrote in the special report. “RSOs that are not fee funded are asked to submit any funding requests to AFB, the appropriate and established funding agency of SFAC.”
SFAC approved a one-time request of $1,979 for conference travel for Coog Radio for FY 2018. They also approved base funding of $26,877.
The one-time request will allow members of the Coog Radio board to travel to the College Media Association and Associated Collegiate Press national convention in Dallas next year.
“We applaud your recent success in offering DJ training services to students as well as garnering more followers on social media to promote your unit,” SFAC wrote.
SFAC approved a one-time request of $2,591 to allow CoogTV board members to travel to the CMA and ACP national convention in Dallas next year. They also approved base funding at $78,378.
“We hope your executive officers will return from the College Media Association conference having represented our University and ready to further engage students with improved content,” SFAC wrote.
SFAC approved three one-time requests, totaling $13,613, for The Cougar to allow for conference travel, a new web editor position and Cooglife events. SFAC also approved base funding of $49,833.
The one-time requests will allow board members of The Cougar to travel to the national convention with CoogTV and Coog Radio. A new board position, the web editor, will be created to address a growing digital presence and using social media for news. SFAC wrote that they will evaluate the effectiveness of the position next year.
The Cougar will continue using SFAC funds for social and distribution events for the lifestyle and entertainment magazine, Cooglife.
“We applaud your efforts to get students involved with Cooglife events and recognize the effectiveness of this program,” SFAC wrote.
Cougars in Recovery
For FY 2018, SFAC has recommended an allocation of $73,584 to Cougars in Recovery. This recommendation accounts for merit and equity increases over the organization’s base budget of $64,314 for the current fiscal year.
Aside from accounting for these increases, Cougars in Recovery did not request any additional base funding. The organization requested a one time allocation of $49,870 in order to fund the salary of the Program Coordinator. SFAC’s report did not address this request.
“We are impressed with your unit’s ability to pursue and obtain outside funding sources, and hope you will continue in this endeavor,” the final report said.
Counseling and Psychological Services
The Student Fees Advisory Committee recommended Counseling and Psychological Services receive a base increase of $265,161 for FY 2018. For FY 2017, SFAC has approved an immediate one time increase of $126,191.
CAPS made these requests in order to offer a more competitive salary to current and newly hired counselors. According to their unit presentation, the current starting salary offered by CAPS is far below industry standard and has contributed to the organization’s difficulty in retaining and hiring mental health professionals.
“We recognize the challenges faced by your unit in hiring and retaining counselors, and commend you for providing high-quality service and maintaining accreditation in the face of these challenges,” the final report said. “We recommend future committees to continue their support for the programs you offer.”
Dean of Students Office
The Student Fees Advisory Committee approved the Dean of Students Office’s request for a base augmentation of $17,078.
The Dean of Students Office made the request in order to account for the current year’s merit increase. For FY 2018, the office will receive $1,127,942 from SFAC.
“We appreciate your consistent efforts to serve as a resource for students, and advocating for student success,” the report said.
DSAES Business Services
Business Services is a new unit within the Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Services. For the upcoming year, the Student Fees Advisory Committee granted the department a base budget of $883,166 and an immediate one time allocation of $1,915.
The one time request will provide business etiquette training. However, SFAC denied the department’s one time request of $8,534 for Microsoft Excel training and conference travel.
“We encourage you to utilize online or other resources to enhance your Excel acumen,” the report said.
DSAES IT Services
For FY 2018, SFAC approved DSAES IT Services’ request to increase their base budget by $82,371.
DSAES IT Services requested $12,803 to cover merit increases and $69,568 to fund the salary of a position newly transferred to the department from the Center for Students with DisABILITIES.
“SFAC recognizes your efforts in increasing public awareness of the operations of your unit, as well as your collaboration with other units at the University of Houston,” SFAC wrote.
SFAC elected to continue Frontier Fiesta’s base budget of $173,260. SFAC also granted the organization a one time request of $225,062 for the current fiscal year.
The approved one time request of $225,062 will cover operation, security and attraction expenses for the annual student-run carnival. The Committee denied Frontier Fiesta’s additional one time request of $50,286 for parking for FY 2017.
“While we commend the recent partnerships and contracts that support the funding of Frontier Fiesta, we encourage your unit to continue seeking external funds,” the final report stated.
The Student Fees Advisory Committee decided to maintain the Health Center’s dedicated fee at $21.50, continuing the Center’s base budget of $1,741,541.
According to the final report, the Committee is supportive of the Health Center’s relocation to a new building and their efforts to begin looking into accepting third party insurance providers.
“SFAC appreciated the role that the Health Center plays on this campus,” the final report stated. “We recognize that keeping up with best practices is vital to maintaining low wait times and streamlining services.”
As requested, the Student Fees Advisory Committee chose to continue Homecoming’s base budget of $70,879. Additionally, the Committee granted the organization’s one time request of $31,227.
The approved one time request will allow the organization to continue collaborating with Frontier Fiesta on Homecoming Fiesta, providing additional games and entertainment at the conclusion of Homecoming week.
“We recognize the importance of developing campus traditions that are inclusive,” the report said.
LGBTQ Resource Center
SFAC approved the LGBTQ Resource Center’s request for a base increase of $1,102 in its recommendations report.
This increase will bring the Center’s total budget to $96,347 and accounts for merit increases.
“Your unit serves as an important resource for students, and we encourage you to continue serving the LGBTQ population as well as develop programming that appeals to the general population,” the report said.
Metropolitan Volunteer Program
SFAC recommended that the Metropolitan Volunteer Board receive a base budget of $71,134. Additionally, SFAC approved a one-time allocation request of $8,374.
MVP was denied another one-time request of $2,438. SFAC cited their belief that the request was a duplicate one that had been approved the previous year. During MVP’s request presentation, they asked for two one-time allocations: $2,438 for their Service Nights and $5,936 for volunteer fairs.
“We commend your efforts in recruiting UH students to provide volunteer opportunities for the surrounding communities,” SFAC wrote. “We hope other units will follow your lead in further engaging with the campus and the Houston community.”
The Student Fees Advisory Committee approved its own operating budget of $7,000 in their final report.
Speech and Debate
The Student Fees Advisory Committee approved the Speech and Debate Program’s base budget of $39,992.
SFAC denied all base augmentation and one-time requests. SFAC and said they were concerned that Speech and Debate does not “benefit a large enough subset of the UH student population to justify the high levels of requested funding.”
“There seems to be a lack of clarity between the Honors College and the Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Services regarding the responsibility of funding Speech and Debate,” the report said. “We would like to see this addressed before considering future funding requests for your unit.”
The Student Center requested that SFAC remove $361,092 from their base budget of $910,632, bringing the total to $549,540. SFAC approved that change, as well as a merit increase of $5,198. and $3,381,000 in dedicated University Center Fees, as well as $8,276,540 in University Center Transformation Fees.
The Student Center receives a dedicated sum of student fees totaling $11,657,540. The Student Center’s request for a reduction in their base budget was because of a position transfer to DSAES Business Services.
“We appreciate the efforts on behalf of your unit to better serve the students of our university and provide a central location for student engagement and socialization,” SFAC wrote.
Student Government Association
The Student Government Association requested and received a $2,717 reduction to its previous budget of $153,169 from SFAC.
The new budget reflects merit increases as well as SGA’s efforts to reduce the costs of its operation. In addition to requesting its own budget reduction, SGA also recommended that SFAC reduce all units’ budgets by 1 percent, which SFAC refused to do.
“We recommend that if future committees choose to revisit this proposal, they do so only after allowing units sufficient time to plan for such reductions and provide input into the nature of the cuts,” SFAC wrote.
Student Program Board
SFAC approved the Student Program Board’s base budget of $160,591, as well as two one-time requests of $10,081 and $100,000.
The budget request was the same amount as the previous year, and the extra $10,081 will fund a comedy showcase that SPB will host. The $100,000 one-time request will fund concerts at Homecoming and Frontier Fiesta and was about $60,000 less than what SPB requested for FY 2018.
“Although the committee is happy to support concerts for students, we are choosing to limit funding to the same amount as last year in order to encourage your unit to be fiscally responsible and continue collaborating with other units,” SFAC wrote.
University Career Services
SFAC approved a $914,630 base budget for University Career Services and two one-time requests of $10,000 and $25,000 for FY 2018.
The one-time requests support career fairs, professional development and can continue providing the Cougar Pathway service to students. University Career Services successfully gained approval for all funds requested in their SFAC presentation. This year, their base budget is lower than the FY17 allocated base budget.
“The committee praises you on your dedication to support the professional development and success of students,” the report said. “SFAC requests that your unit follow all guidelines to ensure clarity in this process.”
Urban Experience Program
The Urban Experience Program gained approval from SFAC for a $146,072 base budget and one time requests of $6,000 and $17,172 for FY 2018.
SFAC denied a $21,000 request for expanded programming. Instead, $6,000 was allocated as an adjusted amount for programming purposes. A graduate assistant position for the program will be successfully provided through the approval of the $17,172 one time request.
“We recognize the importance of the services and programs your unit provides for under-served students,” the report said. “We would like to evaluate the success and effectiveness of the FY17 OT programming request we have approved before approving this request.”
SFAC enthusiastically approved a $31,270 one time request for Veteran Services and a $3,572 base augmentation, allocating a total base budget of $194,465.
The one time request will support Core Programming and 9/11 memorial services for the University.
“The committee recognizes and commends you on your commitment to supporting the brave men and women who have served our country,” the report said. SFAC praised Veteran Services for their efforts to ensure veteran success at the University of Houston.
UH Wellness received approval for a $316,622 total base budget. SFAC also approved a base augmentation of $4,914 for the 2018 fiscal year.
UH Wellness did not request any one time funding during its SFAC presentation this year.
“We are happy to see the effective usage of previous allocated funds that have contributed to the success and awareness of your unit,” the report said. SFAC recognized the importance of serving the mental and physical needs of students and further recommended that more students must be made aware of UH Wellness’ unique services.