UFC finalizes budget allocations
By Matthew Mc Nierney, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Friday, June 22, 2012
The Undergraduate Finance Committee, the organization in charge of allocating the student activity fee paid each year by undergraduates, finalized its budget allocations for next year. The organization’s total budget decreased by $60,000 over the last year, resulting in budget cuts for all but two of the 10 organizations whose funds are allocated by the UFC, according to UFC Chair Rohail Premjee ’14.
While the UFC usually has money left over from previous years, it has exhausted its rollover funds and thus had to cut budgets this year, according to Premjee. Rather than cutting organizations’ allocations equally, the UFC analyzed each organization to determine where to distribute the most funds.
“We really looked at what organization is truly deserving of the money they have,” Premjee said in an email to The Dartmouth.
Programming Board and the Council on Student Organizations received the largest cuts, with their budgets reduced by $24,000 and $21,500 respectively. Programming Board will receive $296,000 total and COSO will receive $255,000.
Premjee said that Programming Board’s cuts came after discussions between the two organizations about how to best cut Programming Board’s costs. The organizations decided to mainly cut the budget by co-sponsoring fewer College-mandated events, such as Orientation. While COSO’s funding decreased from last year, next year’s allocation is close to its 2010 budget, according to Premjee.
“[COSO] received more funding last year due to an increase in our total budget,” Premjee said. “COSO also keeps rollover from their accounts, and so we forsee them to have no significant issues with the budget decrease.”
On a percentage basis, the budgets for Student Assembly and the Special Programs and Events Committee decreased the most, dropping 8.9 percent and 8.1 percent, respectively.
Former Student Assembly treasurer Alex Judson ’14 said that the decrease in funds for the Assembly will not affect the organization’s operations. Many of the services that the Assembly provides, such as the Dartmouth Group Directory, do not cost the organization money once they are initiated, he said. Judson also said that during his time as treasurer, he discovered that the Readership Program, which provides students with free newspapers, costs $7,000 less than previous treasurers had believed, a cost reduction that accounts for all $6,750 of the decrease in the Assembly’s budget for next year.
The cuts to SPEC’s budget, which goes toward funding any organization’s initiatives that exceed $5,000 that do not fall under their normal budget, will result in SPEC being more “stringent” with the money it gives, according to Judson, who is also the summer SPEC chair and the SPEC vice chair for the 2012-2013 academic year.
“We will be allocating funds based on what we have,” Judson said. “We can accept fewer proposals, but we’re going to make due with what we have.”
Not all organizations received budget cuts. The Dartmouth Outing Club’s funding will more than double next year, increasing $9,750 for a total of $18,500, according to an UFC release. The UFC’s funding to the DOC last year was trial funding, because the DOC was not previously funded by the UFC, according to Premjee.
Collis Governing Board’s funding also increased, as their budget for next year is 1 percent higher than last year’s and now totals $70,700, according to the press release. The increase in funds, along with other cost-cutting measures, will allow Collis Governing Board to take on the added responsibilities of maintaining and providing programming for the social spaces that will be located in the Class of 1953 Commons basement, Premjee said.
Funding for the Homecoming bonfire remained the same as last year at $30,000, and the allocation for club sports decreased by $2,000 to $30,000.
Premjee said that the UFC will be taking measures in the fall to help ensure more consistent funding. Although the total fees paid to the College by Dartmouth undergraduates have increased each year, the student activities fee has remained at $78 per term over the past few years, keeping the UFC’s total budget “stagnant,” according to Premjee.
The UFC will write a letter to the Board of Trustees in the fall requesting that the percentage of the student activities fee relative to the total fees remain constant, allowing the UFC’s budget to increase proportionally to tuition increases, Premjee said. The Board of Trustees has assumed that increased enrollment — as evidenced by the relatively large Class of 2014 — would be sufficient to increase student activity fees, but higher enrollment numbers have not been significant enough for any “actual” increase in the UFC’s budget, according to Premjee.