JFC responds to editorial about budget remarks

Editorials featured in the Forum section are solely the opinions of their individual authors.

Last Monday’s article “Joint Funding Committee’s budget remarks out of line” questions the professionalism of the JFC in an unacceptable manner. In addition to drawing inaccurate conclusions, the article fails to recognize the increased transparency of the budget process.

The JFC makes decisions by considering how best to maximize every student activities fee(SAF) dollar to improve student life. Our comments on budgets are both justified and in line with our mission: questioning why previously granted repair expenditures continue to be requested, stating resource constraints, and noting lack of clarity in fiscal behavior are all necessary for responsible allocations. We also include our metrics for travel and food, giving organizations insight into our decisions.

AB Concerts’ budget increase is another point of contention. As Carnegie Mellon’s best-known tradition, Carnival impacts every student. Largely funded through Spring Carnival Committee, Carnival would not exist without JFC funding. The Carnival concert has an inherently large impact proportional to its cost, and as such, the budget increase for this event complies with the JFC’s mission.

The final point was that there was “favorable treatment of certain organizations.” It is absurd and inaccurate to state that any “exceptions” made were unprofessional. AB Tech received money for food –— as did Spring Carnival Committee — because they are organizations that enable other organizations to successfully operate. We fund their meals out of the recognition that not to do so would lead to decreased effectiveness and efficiency for the organizations they assist.

Consistently, The Tartan has chosen to focus on a so-called lack of transparency rather than the changes made to improve transparency. Throughout the budget process, the Student Body Vice President for Finance has made himself available through office hours and information sessions while JFC representatives have repeatedly met with their groups. During budget review, the JFC focuses on past budgets, fiscal audits, and actual spending, so as to carefully consider every line item.

Ultimately, the JFC wants to fund student organizations so that they can fulfill their mission, while maximizing the impact of every dollar we allocate. Ideological disagreements regarding our decisions are appreciated — accusations of favoritism and unprofessionalism are not.