Unanimous vote on final UA budget
Additional $44,386 from the University helped ease budgetary process
February 28, 2011, 6:45 am · Updated February 28, 2011, 12:00 am·
In the wake of the resignation of the Undergraduate Assembly treasurer and a freeze on new student group funding by the Student Activities Council, the UA passed next year’s nearly $2 million budget in a unanimous vote Sunday night.
The 2011-2012 budget was passed with ease, partly due to an increase of $44,386 from the Trustees of the University, according to College senior and UA treasurer Ali Huberlie.
The Budget Committee passed an amendment to increase funding for the Medical and Emergency Response Team, the four Class Boards and the Social Planning and Events Committee.
An additional amendment was proposed to decrease the UA contingency fund — a back-up reserve — to 0.8 percent of the final budget. This will increase SAC’s budget by $5,903.
Both amendments were unanimously voted on and passed together.
College senior and UA member Grant Dubler said finalizing the budget has “never actually been this easy.”
“It was a gift from God when [$44,386] landed in our lap,” he added.
The additional amount came from a $210 increase in the general fee — a fee that all undergraduates pay in addition to tuition, which is “used primarily to fund student activities and student services,” according to the University Office of Budget and Management Analysis.
In past years, the UA finalizes a tentative budget before the Trustees distribute funds to the UA budget. The UA usually receives an additional $10,000 to $25,000, which is allocated to SAC.
The Budget Committee was informed of the final budget from the Trustees before the UA finalized the allocation of its $1,967,763 budget. It subsequently proposed an amendment to allocate the unexpected $44,386 to more Penn Student Government branches.
Although PSG branch leaders were satisfied with this year’s allocations, one point of contention surrounded the $7,500 that the Nominations and Elections Committee uses to help UA election candidates publicize in The Daily Pennsylvanian.
The amendment — authored by Dubler — proposed decreasing NEC’s publicity funds to $4,880, which would cover a renegotiated contract between the NEC and the business department of the DP.
The amendment noted that “this action was taken out of the real concern that the UA General Body would cut the funding entirely if the cost remained at the same level as it had in past years — $7,500.”
“It is incredibly important that we fund the NEC to a level sufficient to provide print and online platforms for UA and Class Board candidates,” the amendment added.
Wharton senior and NEC Chairman Nick Greif hoped for more than $4,880 for publicity funds, citing the DP as a valuable and informative source for candidates to publicize their platforms.
Greif added that he was disappointed in how the body decided to allocate the additional $44,386. He cited increasing funds for the “Sophomore Skimmer” as a “superficial” move and recommended increasing funds for publicizing UA and class board candidates in the DP.
“I’ve got some concerns about what that says about the budget process,” he added.
Overall, College senior and UA president Matt Amalfitano said he was very excited about the finalization of the budget.
The final allocation of the budget showed that the UA is “a student government that understands what the students want,” he said.