SGA to create new student organization financing process after Fall 2022 budget conflicts

Aidan Sheedy, Copy Editor

Quinnipiac University student organizations disapproved of the large budget cuts proposed by the Student Government Association for the fall 2022 budget, resulting in a press release signed by the organizations involved, but the two sides have agreed upon a solution just three days later.

Illustration by Emma Kogel

“The Finance Committee and I were able to clarify and elaborate on the SGA budgeting process and we had an open dialogue to understand the concerns of the organizations,” SGA Vice President of Finance and 2022-23 President Elect Owenea Roberts wrote in a statement to The Chronicle. “We gained valuable feedback that will be reviewed by the 22-23 Executive Board. We will make sure to be transparent with any changes implemented.”

The largest slash of funding for the QU Democrats targeted the activity fund, which was a proposed $750 for the semester, but the final decision allocated $0 for the events. Another budgetary slash came at the expense of the speaker series, which had a request for $10,000, but was only funded $5,750.

This caused disapproval from the QU Democrats, as a trend has been observed by other student organizations as well.

President of the QU Democrats, Paul Cappuzzo said he was also content with how the situation was handled.

“It was a very productive conversation,” junior political science and economics double-major Cappuzzo said. “We spoke on a wide range of issues that were discussed in the letter.”

A meeting was held April 25, between SGA and the mentioned organizations to devise a proper solution to the concerns raised in the letter.

The letter was published on the QU Democrats’ and Indigenous Student Union’s Instagrams on April 22, with an undersigning of several organizations: the Multicultural Student Leadership Council, Indigenous Student Union, Asian Student Alliance, Latino Cultural Society, Black Student Union, Political Science Association, International Student Association and QU Democrats.

The solution involves establishing a new committee for training SGA board members on how to improve budgetary issues, including allocating a budget fairly and swiftly with transparency with the organizations.

Cappuzzo said the new committee will be “committed to a rearranging for finances.”

“That was an idea that we suggested,” Cappuzzo said. “They create this mock budget to show us how it’s done, that way organizations don’t get confused.”

The QU Democrats responded to the decisions made by SGA quickly, pouncing on the massive budget cuts toward the organization’s “campaign activity fund” and its “speaker series.”

In the press release, the organizations added that SGA has a history of defunding multicultural organizations, while prioritizing larger groups like the Student Programming Board.

“The allocation of available funds reflects, in an empirical and material way, the ethics of SGA,” the organizations wrote in the press release. “The SGA finance committee uses its discretionary power in favor of large organizations such as SPB, while providing paltry funding for organizations that cater minoritized student groups or organizations devoted to social justice and advocacy.”

The budget process for student organizations to receive funding from the university and SGA requires members of each organization to create a proposal for event funding planned for the upcoming semester. From there, the proposal is assessed by a finance committee and then given to Roberts, who allocates the final budget.

Junior political science major Genesis Iscoa, a former SGA multicultural senator and the vice president-elect for the ISA, said that a formal discussion about miscommunication was something she has been waiting to see happen.

“I just hope it’s not just for show,” Iscoa said. “This is an ongoing issue probably from when I was in SGA.

 “I’ve been on both sides of the story and it does feel sometimes like you spend so much time … that you are more distant from the student body than you should be,” Iscoa said. “I think it’s important for us to pull them back and ask them first.”

As for Roberts, Iscoa said she understands the pressure that cabinet members have to endure if they want to keep the students happy.

“You’re supposed to be between the administration and student body,” Iscoa said. “But sometimes you can subconsciously go closer to one than the other. There always has to be a balance of who you are listening to. I definitely know what (Roberts) is struggling with — trying to appease everyone.