Student life director wants to hear from students on ways to improve the program.
By Richard Montemayor
Students who participate in campus activities might be disappointed with the lack of activities that student life puts on in the fall semester because of budget cuts.
Faced with cutting its activities and events program by a third in the next academic year, the Student Activity Fee Committee last week softened the blow by shifting the salaries of three coaches to the college’s budget temporary employees.
Low enrollment projections caused the committee’s total 2015-16 budget to be 7.3 percent less than this year’s budget of $335,000.
“District estimated based on enrollment that we would get $310,264 for this committee,” Richard Farias, director of student life, said.
The committee approved a 2016 budget May 7. The day after, members voted by email to restructure funds by eliminating three coaches from the budget, Farias said. The coaches, whose combined salaries total $20,000, are now under student success.
“Whenever we can’t have a physical meeting or whenever there is a small adjustment, we will do an email vote instead,” Farias said.
With the budget being less for next year, Farias said he is not ruling out making more cuts to programs.
“The budget is still slightly less than last year, so there may be certain things that we may have run throughout this past year that we don’t run next year,” Farias said.
Farias said he is planning to meet over the summer with the student life staff to decide what they can afford with the budget, Farias said.
The coaches will move from the activity fee budget to the college’s salary account for part-time workers, Jacob-Aidan Martinez, coordinator for student success, said. “The coaches will be coming out of our activity fee account and will transfer over to the school’s account for part-timers,” Martinez said.
“What we were able to do is take that $20,000 and disperse it throughout the budget,” Farias said.
“Lisa Alcorta, vice president of student success division, let me know that for next year they were able to take off the coaches from their budget,” Farias said.
Student life general activities and events will get $59,621 next year, down from this year’s $68,794, he said.
The money helps pay for the Welcome Back Week and other student life activities throughout the semester, such as new student orientation, blood drives and movie nights. Originally, the program would have been whittled to $45,621.
Farias said he is concerned about the perception that the committee uses student activity fee money to fund only its clubs and organizations.
“You look at the 2015 budget — what this committee awarded was $75,000 out of $335,000,” Farias said. “There is a perception out there that this committee benefits just a few students, and that is not true; it benefits every student at some point.”
The rest of the budget breaks down as follows:
Next year, recreational sports and intramurals will receive $28,000, with men’s and women’s basketball and boxing receiving $18,000 and intramurals programming getting $10,000. This year the same programs received a total of $21,000.
The Student Activity Fee Committee also designated funds to student organizations that apply for funds during the semester.
The committee received $75,000 this year for that purpose, and next year it will get $65,000.
Of those funds, $55,000 pays for the monthly funds requested by clubs, and $10,000 is going to the clubs’ and organizations’ benchmarks. Benchmarks are an activity that a club may be involved in throughout the semester. Clubs have to complete their benchmark to receive additional funding.
The Student Government Association will receive $8,000 next year, which is $1,000 less than this year.
“Because we had to pull from a lot of other areas, I had to pull another $1,000 from student government,” Farias said. “Student government still gets the $10,000 match from Dr. Vela.”
He referred to a matching sum from President Robert Vela.
Funding for cultural committee such as Hispanic Heritage Month and Black History Month will receive the same amount as this year, $2,500. Vela matched this amount as well, Farias said.
Farias said he would like to hear from the students on ways the student life staff can improve the student life program.
“I like to think that students would find value in more activities and more programming that we could offer. I just wish that they would let us know,” Farias said.