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Presidential Perspectives

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Hello, all. It has been some time since I last wrote in this column, and I would like to thank Tom and The Tartan for allowing me, the vice-president for finance, this space this week.

Last week, the Joint Funding Committee (JFC) presented its final recommendation for student organization subsidies of the 2006–2007 academic year to Student Senate and Graduate Student Assembly (GSA). You can see the subsidies for each group in this issue of The Tartan, and detailed reports are online at budgets.stusen.org. These recommendations come after a semester-long process of working with 129 groups through 11 JFC representatives, four weeks of reviewing line items and creating our first recommendation, and a hectic week of appeals meetings. I would like to thank my committee for their help.

The joint meeting of Senate and GSA on Wednesday at 4:30 pm in Doherty Hall 2210 is the last step for JFC. If you would like to voice your opinion on the budgets or process, you may do so during audience participation at the start of the meeting.

This has been a year of change for the JFC. Starting with funding eligibility renewal every fall, JFC now reviews the effect of each group on campus by examining its spending and their events. We started this process last fall, and next year the full process, together with Oracle account data (even now being used on a larger scale), will help us to get a better idea about groups for the spring budgeting process. By adding more forms to fill out, groups will have to spend more time on paperwork than activities, which is against student government’s purpose. However, a balance can be found here.

Blanket statistics about the budgets can be misleading due to special cases. While there are differing amounts of value students get from different activities, there are base costs to do certain things, such as having a radio station. Comparing groups’ budgets every year can be difficult because of capital upgrades, such as the Frame’s much-needed wall renovations. There is work in progress to make it easier to separate expenses (like overhead from one-time capital purchases) for review.

One last note: Student government elections for student body president and vice-president for finance, and undergraduate Senators, are today and tomorrow. Remember to go to elections.andrew.cmu.edu to vote!