Cultural Council funding cut proposed

Grand Valley State University Student Senate President Jarrett Martus speaks at the Presidents Ball dinner

Eric Coulter

Grand Valley State University Student Senate President Jarrett Martus speaks at the President’s Ball dinner

Lauren Ringger

The process of determining the Student Senate budget is a difficult one, but the 2011-2012 budget has cultural groups at Grand Valley State University feeling excluded.

Every February, the Student Senate sits down to divide its funds for the upcoming year. Last week, Student Senate drew up its 2011-2012 base budget proposal, allocating $1 million among various student organizations.

Student Senate has proposed to allocate $776,000 to councils, a 3.05-percent increase from last year. Councils saw funding increases across the board with the exception of the Cultural Council, which lost nearly 15 percent of its funding. The Cultural Council includes clubs such as the African Student Council, the Arab Culture Club, the International Club, the Latino Student Union and Russian Circle.

Alyssa Tierney, the Student Senate vice president of Finance, said when Student Senate decides on the proposed budget, they take several factors into consideration: how much was allocated to the council last year, how much remains the council’s budget, how many requests the council forwarded to the Appropriations Committee and how many active organizations are within the council.

“The main reason Cultural is being cut is because they still have $31,000 of unused money left in their budget,” Tierney said. “Last year they were a really active council but this year they haven’t been nearly as active as before and $31,000 is a lot remaining in the budget, which is why we are cutting it.”

However, cultural groups are arguing that the cut is undeserved.

“The Cultural Funding Board isn’t too pleased,” said Sandra Braden, president of the Arab Culture Club. “We use all of our resources really well, our events are really popular and I feel like it has helped make GVSU more diverse, and I don’t know why people are trying to change that.”

In contrast to the Cultural Council decrease, the Honorary/Professional Council is proposed to receive 150 percent increase. The Honorary/Professional Council includes groups such as Kappa Kappa Psi, Rho Lambda, Order of Omega, Triota and the Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society.

Under the current budget proposal, the council to receive the largest amount of money is the Sports and Recreation Council, which consists of clubs such as Ballroom Dancing, Dance Team, Lacrosse, Pompon, Ice Hockey, Wrestling and Tennis Club. These organizations are proposed to receive $358,000 in funding, a 2.29 percent increase from last year.

Student Senate will vote to finalize the budget at 4:30 p.m. Thursday in Room 2204 of Kirkhof Center.

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Selections from the 2011- 2012 Student Senate Base Budget Proposal

2010-2011 2011-2012 % Change

Cultural $88,000.00 $75,000.00 -14.77%

Honorary/Professional $2,000.00 $5,000.00 150.00%

Interfaith $6,000.00 $7,000.00 16.00%

Performing Arts $20,000.00 $23,000.00 15.00%

Service and Advocacy $32,000.00 $32,000.00 0.00%

Special Interest $24,000.00 $30,000.00 25.00%

Sports $350,000.00 $358,000.00 2.29%

Greek Life Council $25,000.00 $30,000.00 20.00%

Media Council $56,000.00 $66,000.00 17.86%

Traditions $35,000.00 $ 40,000.00 14.29%

Athletic Entry Fee $10,000.00 $00.00 -100.00%