The Student Association Senate voted 13-2 in favor of a budget bill Tuesday that set the agenda for funding clubs in the next academic year, and this year’s bill excluded several large Tier III organizations.
The Black Student Union (BSU) and Club Cheerleading were left off the bill; for BSU, this is the first time they have been excluded in 40 years, said a club official. Also not present was the Latino Student Union (LSU).
At issue is Tier III funding, the highest level of Student Association status a club can attain. Being a Tier III organization means the club can receive an unlimited amount of the S.A. budget. Organizations rejected from the Tier III bill can still apply for Tier II status, but those funds are capped at $3,500 for each organization, a drastic cut for some former Tier IIIs. A budget committee will now use the information on the bill to construct next year’s budget.
BSU’s paperwork was declared incomplete by the Senate Finance Committee said chairman Kristofer Brandow. BSU declined to comment on their fall in status because they were previously unaware of the news when an interview was requested.
If BSU is relegated to Tier II status they will face a budget cut of 73 percent or more of their funding.
The status of Men’s Club Baseball was in contention, after the group said it received late notification of the process. But Club Baseball was added back on the list of Tier IIIs after senators voted to amend the bill from the floor.
Senator Robert Chiappone said he was convinced to vote in favor of the group after they made an appeal to the Senate.
"I saw how large the group was and I applaud what they are doing," Chiappone said.
But a minority of senators did not agree. Brandow said the group’s paperwork was rejected because it appeared unprofessional and incomplete.
"As a senator, I feel it would be irresponsible to make an exception every time a group comes to us and says, ‘we made a mistake, sorry,’" Brandow said.
Senate leader Nathan Hemmes said he was able to vote for the group in spite of the paperwork.
"The original issue was basically the charter’s sloppiness," Hemmes said. "I felt that was not the greatest reason to exclude them as it was on time and they appealed properly."
The Carribean Student Association was also added back into the bill from the floor.
Formerly Tier III organizations looking for Tier II funding will not have much time to regroup. This year, for the first time, Tier II budgeting will be done at the same time as Tier III, rather than in the fall. The committee that constructs the budget for the next year is subject to change this year as well. A bill in the Senate would change the composition of S.A. budget councils to give more power to the legislature by adding more senators to the committee and taking voting power away form the finance director, according to the document.
As for the prospect that organizations like BSU, LSU, or Club Cheerleading could somehow get back on the Tier III list, Brandow said it was unlikely.
"The bill’s been passed and signed," Brandow said.