Dec. 6 meeting raises unanswered questions about the budget.
By Carlos Ferrand
Charles Falcon, speech and drama professor, stepped in as the interim nonvoting chair of the Student Activity Fee Committee during a meeting Jan. 31, while Emma Mendiola, dean of student affairs and nonvoting chair, tended to family matters.
Falcon opened the meeting by addressing the closing minutes of the Dec. 6 committee meeting, and questions about the student activities budget, which is generated through the collection of $1 per credit hour per student.
“Some members thought there was much more money,” Falcon said.
During the transition period following former Chair Jorge Posada’s summer resignation and getting Mendiola up to speed on committee policy, President Robert Zeigler approved club’s requests for funds.
“The requests were time sensitive, so President Zeigler went ahead and approved them,” Jacob Wong, Student Government Association president, said.
The budget looked lower than expected because Wong wasn’t sure where the money for requests going through Zeigler was coming from, Wong said.
Wong thought the money may have been coming from a previous facilities budget.
Until district determined that student fee funds could not be used for building or construction last spring, the committee would allocate money for facilities.
The facilities account may have been around $180,000, he said.
“I’m going to follow up on that then, committee. I’ll let you all know when that meeting is going to happen,” Falcon said.
Falcon said he will spend the next few weeks looking into the budget and making sure the information is correct.
“I know there are some questions, I’ve highlighted those and I will meet with Dr. (Robert) Vela, Dr. (Robert) Zeigler during this month and kind of figure out where we are,” Falcon said.
The total budget for clubs and organizations at the beginning of the 2012-13 academic year was $50,000, and the remainder is $17,947.
The committee denied a new tennis club the $2,278 they were asking for, but did award $500.
The committee denied the full amount because the new club has not yet made an effort to fundraise this semester.
“New clubs on this campus generally have to fundraise to purchase these things they are asking for,” Wideman said.
The club requested $300 for printing costs and $150 for decorations.
“Things like water, banners and uniforms, these are things that can be generated from their fundraising that are not essentials,” English Professor Laurie Coleman said.
The committee approved $1,965 for Phi Theta Kappa to attend a Texas regional conference.
“Phi Theta Kappa definitely does a lot of fundraising on campus, they are also a very present organization on this campus, and I think they definitely deserve the amount requested,” Wideman said.
PTK is also contributing $200 of its money and students are paying $50 each for the conference.
The committee denied a request submitted by addiction counseling sophomore Jeff Schnoor for the Human Services Club because the adviser, program Coordinator Dr. Edwin Bergen, and the club president had no knowledge of the request.
The committee also denied a request for $2,684 for Mexican-American Engineers and Scientists to attend a national leadership conference Wednesday-Sunday in Washington, DC.
The committee denied the proposal because the total amount of money they receive a year from the student activity fee is disproportionate to what all other organizations receive.
MAES was previously awarded $15,858 for 20 students and two advisers to attend a conference Oct. 10-13 in Las Vegas. Zeigler approved the request. The committee tabled the Geological Society’s request for $4,685 to send 14 students and one adviser to Big Bend National Park.
A request from the society for 15 all-weather geological handbooks totaling $300 concerned Wong because he said it seemed the handbooks were for an academic purpose.
Clubs cannot request money from the student activity fee if the materials or event is for a grade.
“Hopefully, this isn’t required for a grade, therefore it would become academic,” he said.
The committee agreed to table the proposal until Feb. 27 so the society could clarify their request.
For more information about the committee, call Falcon at 210-486-0486 or email him at email@example.com.