By Paul Schmitt
Student Senate recently enacted a 9 percent budget cut for all student clubs for the 2013-14 academic year, leaving some organizations scrambling for funds.
The cuts are the result of a decline in enrollment at Saint Mary’s University, despite the student activity fee increase from $170 to $185 per student.
“The fee of $185 per person comes out to roughly $211,000, so that’s what we’re working with for the Student Senate budget,” said Vice President for Financial Affairs Melissa Radermacher. “If all the clubs have the same budget they had this year, we would have a $20,000 deficit, so a 9 percent cut was made so we come out even.”
A 9 percent cut may not seem like a lot, but clubs such as Ballroom Dance need every penny they request. Ballroom Dance hires a dance teacher from the Twin Cities to come to campus once a week for three hours, and has a long-standing reduced rate worked out with the teacher, according to Jackie Jones, co-president of the club.
“One of the things that sort of bothered me was that if I had known about this budget cut beforehand, I would have focused more on fundraising so that our cap would have been decreased,” said Jones. “I think that exceptions should be made if clubs show a specific need for something. It’s really hard for our club to function without an instructor.”
Student Senate did have the ability to grant exceptions to the cut, but “they all seemed to understand it would be unfair if one group got less than a 9 percent cut, because that would mean another group would have to have a higher cut to make up for it,” said Radermacher.
Radermacher assured that $8,000 per semester would be available for special request funds based on need. She encourages students to get their requests in early in the semester for the best chance of getting approved.