This year’s Funding at Columbia University committee approved minor changes to governing board allocations for the next year, given the same student life fees as the 2012-13 school year.
The F@CU committee is made up of the incoming and outgoing presidents and vice presidents of finance for Columbia College Student Council, the Engineering Student Council, General Studies Student Council, and Barnard’s Student Government Association, who meet every spring to decide how to allocate over $1 million to student group governing boards.
The Student Governing Board, the Inter-Greek Council, the Governing Board at Barnard, Club Sports at Columbia, and the Activites Board at Columbia all received slight increases in funding. Community Impact had no change in funding.
SGB was the only board to appeal its allocation this year. While the board had requested $263,291—an 11.8 percent increase from last year—the F@CU committee only allocated $238,466, a $3,000 increase from last year.
Because last year’s SGB allocation also fell below the amount requested, the board was forced to cut group funding. Given this year’s $25,000 shortfall, SGB leaders said that they anticipate having to cut more groups’ funding.
Incoming ESC Vice President of Finance Robert Ying, SEAS ’16, said that the committee could not increase funding for SGB because of expected decreases in the individual councils’ surplus, which goes toward the total budget.
“SGB can’t be funded more because surpluses are supposed to decrease,” Ying said.
Incoming SGB Vice Chair Mariam Elnozahy, BC ’16, however, said that SGB needs the funding because the board’s surplus has also decreased and an unprecedented five groups appealed their budget allocations for next year. SGB added seven new groups under its governing board for next year.
Last year, SGB cut the funding of 50 groups, including the Columbia University Democrats, the Columbia University College Republicans, and the Student Wellness Project.
“Our governing board represents basically all of the contrarian student groups on campus,” Elnozahy said. “That feels like a limiting of expression on campus.”
“They spoke about how they think we should reduce the amount of groups we’re recognizing every year … limiting the amount of new groups we can recognize,” incoming SGB Chair Fatima Diallo, CC ’15, said. “There are new demographics being recognized on campus.”
The Activities Board at Columbia requested a 7.9 percent increase in funds, but was instead given $454,909—a 3.6 percent increase from last year. GSSC increased its funding to ABC specifically to increase funds for the Columbia Milvets.
“We increased $3,000 and that will go to the Milvets final allocation,” outgoing GSSC President Hannah Germond, GS ’16, said. “That was one of our primary goals. Our student budgets haven’t increased, but we’re looking to make sure the budgets that are important for GS are sustainable for the future.”
This year, the Milvets asked for a co-sponsorship from GSSC, a process that Germond said was unsustainable.
“They’ve been searching for it for a really long time, but we wanted to make sure we use the processes afforded to the students of the University,” Germond said. “When we came into F@CU it was our number one goal to make sure they were funded.”
Eva Kalikoff and Channing Prend contributed reporting.
Correction: An earlier version of the story said that ABC was given $424,909. They were given $454,909. Spectator regrets the error.