Budget cuts bring up questions

Budget+cuts+bring+up+questions

Olivia Higgins

News HeadlineIf a Quinnipiac student takes a look at their tuition bill, they’ll see the $1,650 student activity fee that all students pay every year, which presumably goes toward student activities. But this year Student Government Association’s (SGA) budget for organizations on campus has been cut and the school has not made students aware, according to Vice President for Finance George Corde.

Many students were surprised by the budget cuts because they had not heard about them before from the school or student government.

“I feel that it’s Quinnipiac’s obligation to tell us where our money is going,” Sophomore Niamh Butler said. “We’re going here, we’re participating in the clubs, our parents are paying so we should be kept in the loop of what’s going on with our money.”

Almost 7,000 students pay the $1,650 fee each year, this means the school is receiving around $10 million per year in student activity fees.

A portion of this money goes directly to the Student Government Association (SGA) to provide funds for all the organizations on campus. The SGA has typically been given $700,000 out of that $10 million to budget across all the organizations on campus.

But this past summer, SGA was informed that its budget would be cut by $150,000 for the upcoming school year. Quinnipiac justified these budget cuts because SGA usually only spends $600,000 per year, and so they removed the difference according to Corde.

“Over the past three years, the school kind of averaged out our spending, and we only ever really spend $600,000 of our budget,” Corde said.

Corde said the school is validating its budget cuts because SGA was not spending all of the money in those previous years.

“What all of us should have [to do is] to go to different organizations, to go to different events on campus and things like that,” Corde said. “So, all of the student fee money should be spent on things for the students.”

Corde, other student government members and students would like to know where this money is going instead of to SGA. The budget has been cut and yet students still pay the same amount in student fees, which is something students should be aware of.

“There are definitely going to be people who are upset about it, different organizations will be upset because now we have to evaluate some of our practices,” Corde said.

Sophomore Marissa Motti believes the school should make students and their parents aware of any budget cuts being made.

“I just feel that because our parents are spending a lot of money for us to go here and our money is going to organizations that a lot of students at Quinnipiac are a part of.”

SGA will be overlooking all the organizations to see if there is any waste going on that must be taken care of now that the budget is tighter, according to Corde.

But Corde expressed that he wanted to reassure students and organizations that this won’t have an immediately severe impact.

“It’s not a total panic, just because we weren’t spending $700,000… so nothing too significant is going to change,” he said. “We are not going to go and re-budget every organization.”

SGA has a savings contingency which will support them if they run out of money this school year. So it should not impact organizations or events this year too severely. But Corde and other SGA members will continue trying to figure out where this money is going and continue to try and get this money back to SGA.

Sophomore Lindsay Levethan believes the school should share a plan with students as to where the money is going.

“It’s going to make more people mad if they don’t know where the money is going,” she said. “I think they should just come out and say ‘Okay well we’ve decided to change things.’”

Most importantly, Corde said students should have a breakdown of the student activity fee they are paying.

“I think it’s just important that the student body is aware of [the budget cuts]. We are actively trying to figure out where our student fee money is,” he said.

However, some students took the opposite side, saying the school is justified in cutting SGA’s budget and using the money elsewhere.

“I’m not too upset over SGA getting their budget cut, because that’s just how the world works and everybody has to deal with tight budgets,” sophomore Nate O’Shea said. “I just don’t understand where the extra nine million dollars [SGA doesn’t get] is going.”

Since the school is a private institution, its finances are not public record and therefore there is no obligation to share what different payments go towards, according to O’Shea. But he agrees that it would be nice to have a layout of where students’ payments go.

“I feel like as students we have plenty of opportunities, so it’s not like we’ve seen a decrease in opportunities for us to get involved or amenities for us,” O’Shea said.