In the face of the looming student government sequestration, the verbal blows between administrators and student leaders have begun.

Provost Vincent Price continues to refuse to support a budget that includes more than one dollar of cuts to the Student Activities Council for every ten cuts elsewhere. Penn President Amy Gutmann is mostly concerned with ensuring that funding for SPEC Concerts continues to increase.

“I was really optimistic that they’d get Beyonce next year,” Gutmann said. “Now, I’m not so sure. What am I supposed to do, sing ‘Who Run the World’ by myself in my office?”

The sequester was proposed and unilaterally enacted last year by the Nomination and Elections Committee’s Committee on Committees. It is designed to force each branch of student government into budget cuts, with savings diverted split between the Making History Fund and posters for the NEC’s annual get out the vote campaign. The one unaffected branch is the Student Committee on Undergraduate Education, which spends no money anyway.

An 8 percent reduction to the budget for each branch will automatically take effect at midnight on Friday if the groups fail to agree on an alternative arrangement. So far, the only official proposal has come from SAC, which has suggested that it permanently extend its moratorium on new student groups, in exchange for all cuts being levied against other branches. In response, SPEC and the Class Boards have been sending tweets blaming SAC for the mandatory cuts all week, using the hashtag #SACquester.

“SAC gratuitously lets groups go into thousands of dollars of debt at the expense of new groups and a better Fling,” SPEC President Josh Oppenheimer said at a press release in front of a banner reading “Stop the #SACquester.”

“Hey, it’s not like we wanted Tyga and Janelle Monae either,” he added.

In response, SAC executive members have pledged to boycott all SPEC events, and have required members of all SAC-funded groups to do so as well or else lose half of their funding for the next year.

“It’s a win-win. Either no one listens and we solve our debt problem, or everyone does and we embarrass SPEC,” SAC chair Jen Chaquette said, adding that SAC will be serving free alcohol and blasting Tiesto in the Bishop White room of Houston Hall from April 12 to April 13 for all groups boycotting Fling, using the non-claimed reimbursement cash they hide in a shoebox in the Office of Student Affairs.

Administrators have mostly stayed out of the war of words between students, but Price and Gutmann nearly came to blows with each other at the most recent Board of Trustees meeting after Gutmann made an inaudible remark in response to Price’s plea that student groups be spared from the cuts. The two had to be separated by Vice President for University Communications Stephen MacCarthy.

“President Gutmann has always been calm and open, even when discussing the most sensitive issues,” Price said. “But this time, she snapped at even a mention of cutting funds for her beloved Fling concert.”

The NEC is expected to announce a last-minute negotiation session between the branches sometime this week, but chief Penn lobbyist Bill Andresen is “not optimistic that the sides will be able to come together in time.”

Among the first programs the groups have announced they plan to cut should the sequester take effect are porta-potties and fried oreos at Fling.

“This was never supposed to happen,” Undergraduate Assembly President Dan Bernick said. “It was supposed to be bad enough that we wouldn’t let it happen.”

This article appeared in the Daily Pennsylvanian’s Joke Issue 2013. For more information, click here.

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