Student government seeks a bigger budget to accommodate orgs

Student organizations seeking funding from Miami’s Associated Student Government this semester will likely receive 15 percent less money than requested, ASG Secretary of Finance Caroline Weimer told The Student.

In addition, Weimer said, ASG’s debt relief program — which was created last year by former Secretary of Finance Alex Cary to help overspent organizations get out of debt — is being cut entirely.

Club sports will also see large cuts in funding (possibly up to 55 percent, said Weimer) for another consecutive year, and ASG’s own discretionary budget will lose approximately one percent of its current $91,000. Miami Activities and Programming (MAP), which has a non-negotiable $250,000 allotment, is not losing any funding.

The cuts are coming, Weimer says, because ASG’s total allowance hasn’t grown in years.

“We’re working on increasing the budget,” Weimer said. “It’s just unfortunately true that this is the year that everyone is going to feel the pinch and have to curb their spending a little bit more, but if we swallow it a little bit this year, in the years to come it should be a lot better.”

In the spring semester, student organizations getting funding from ASG received 10 percent less than their requested amount — to “keep ASG within budget for the year,” Cary said in an email in February.

If ASG kept the debt relief program in place, Weimer projected that organizations would get 20 percent less than requested this year. By abolishing the debt relief program, ASG can afford to cut just 15 percent.

“We thought it was really important to cut [the cutbacks] down as much as possible, because, as we saw in the spring, there were a lot of organizations that could not do nearly as much or any of what they planned to do at all,” Weimer said. “It’s an unfortunate situation that we’re in, but there’s not much we can do given the funds that we’re given.”

Hopefully, Weimer says, student orgs won’t have to suffer much longer. Student Affairs Council has given verbal approval to incrementally increase ASG’s budget over the next several years, dependent on successful handling of the funds. A 10 percent increase for ASG next year, and possibly more after that, is being planned.