Joint Funding Committee’s budget remarks out of line

Credit: Braden Kelner/Forum Editor Credit: Braden Kelner/Forum Editor

The Joint Funding Committee (JFC)’s appeals process for 2014 organization budgets concluded last week, leaving many student leaders and organization members unhappy with the treatment they received from the JFC. Comments and exceptions made on BudgetTracker during the approval process are incongruous with the professionalism the JFC is supposed to uphold.

WRCT’s budget feedback largely consisted of the JFC asking why the radio station’s equipment keeps breaking; Amnesty International’s campus chapter, which requested funding for documentary film screenings, was left with the remark, “Find cheaper movies”; and the JFC made a comment at the end of Sustainable Earth’s budget that “Your FY12 audit showed you really don’t understand the concept of budgeting. Your current year spending is not really in line with your budget either. The JFC would like to meet with you prior to giving you any money. Please appeal.; appeal granted. Don’t screw it up, Matt.”

Other organizations received similar rude comments. On the Scotch’n’Soda budget, many unprofessional comments were made. One comment pointed out that the theater group had misnamed a type of tape they were requesting money for: “It’s actually called fabric tape…..#VPFdoestheatre.”

With respect to budget increases, the AB Concerts budget increased to $232,825 after the appeals process, an increase from the pre-appeals figure of $196,785. AB Concerts did not ask for this increase, according to AB Concerts co-chair Rebecca Paren. Both of these figures are substantially larger than the $130,790 the organization operated with last year. Giving an organization more money than what it requested is unprecedented, at least since 2010, according to BudgetTracker.

While next year will be the 100th Spring Carnival — and it’s understandable that students would want to celebrate accordingly — this $102,035 increase for one event comes at the expense of numerous other organizations that now have to operate on limited budgets.

Additionally, the only organization to receive an exception from the strictly implemented JFC funding guidelines for food was AB Tech. The JFC’s guidelines do not allow funding for “personal food”; however, AB Tech’s BudgetTracker comment said, “Exception made for you guys cause you work so darn hard.”

These inappropriate comments, coupled with what appears to be favorable treatment of certain organizations, demonstrate unacceptable behavior by the JFC. Budgets for student groups dramatically affect student life. They determine what an organization can afford and contribute to the quality of these groups. By their nature, budget cuts are upsetting for those who are affected by them.

The JFC must be aware of the impact that their funding allocations have and professionally address allocations with respect to the organization members that work hard to fulfill the interests of the student body.