The Student Activity Fee Board voted Friday to approve a budget proposal to benefit the Council of Commonwealth Student Governments.
The majority vote of 8-3-1 confirmed the board’s official recommendation to Vice President for Student Affairs Damon Sims to provide CCSG with $14,800 in funding from University Park student activity fee resources.
The proposal involves a three-pronged approach to financing CCSG, with money coming from University Park student activity fees, Commonwealth Campus student activity fees and central administration.
Three of the 12 voting members of the board voted against the proposal: University Park Undergraduate Association President Courtney Lennartz, UPUA Chairman of the Assembly Spencer Malloy and Senior Director of Union and Student Activities Mary Edgington. Graduate Student Association President Wanika Fisher abstained from voting.
The main concerns raised by Fisher, Lennartz (senior-health policy and administration) and Malloy (senior-agroecology and philosophy) involved the sources of the funding and the proportion of the funding coming from each of these sources.
“Looking at the total amount requested and where you’re getting it from, you’re only asking for $20,500 from the Commonwealth Campuses, but you’re representing so many Commonwealth Campus students, while asking for $14,800 from the University Park campus, while only representing 25 University Park students,” Lennartz (senior-health policy and administration) said.
GSA President Wanika Fisher also expressed concerns. She said the proportion of funds requested from University Park was too high and said she was opposed to a portion of the budget coming from main administration.
In response to the proposal, the UPUA representatives proposed that a larger percent of student activity fee funding for CCSG come from the Commonwealth Campuses. Ultimately, they were overruled.
“I have to say, after reviewing it a million times, I feel we’re being as fair as we can be,” Director of Student Affairs at Penn State Dubois Rebecca Pennington said.
CCSG President Ben Clark agreed, elaborating on the accommodations that had been made since the budget proposal was first introduced.
“We’ve had three subcommittee meetings, and the proposal has changed after each based on the conversation that has occurred to try to accommodate everyone in the room as best as we could,” Clark (senior-accounting) said.
The most recent change since the last subcommittee meeting was a reduction in the money requested from University Park SAF funds from $16,800 to $14,800.
Also noted were the restrictions that will be placed on the money received from each “prong.” The rules associated with spending of University Park student activity fee funds, Commonwealth Campus student activity fee funds and funding from the main administration will all be observed. The use of the money received by CCSG from University Park student activity fee funds will also be audited, and any money that is not spent will be returned to the funding sources.
Whether CCSG receives the money requested from University Park student activity fee funds now depends on whether Sims chooses to follow the board’s recommendation.