Student Government is annually entrusted to about a quarter of a million dollars in student fee money to fund various organizations, activities and amenities around campus.Student Government is annually entrusted to about a quarter of a million dollars in student fee money to fund various organizations, activities and amenities around campus.
As of March 25, a surplus of $90,256.30 was left over from the initial $257,306.82 Student Government budget for the 2013-14 year.
Between March 25 and July 1, Student Government used $32,516.71 of that surplus, dwindling it to $57,739.59.
That extra money, which accounts for 22.4 percent of the Student Government budget, was deposited into a Student Government reserve bank account. The reserve account is the second-largest expenditure by the student group.
The totals in this account were not immediately available to Student Government President Desmond Miller, but Miller has told The Echo he will work on getting exact figures to the student body.
“Myself, my VP, and Senators were elected by the student body to represent them and the budget was approved unanimously because it was balanced,” Miller said. “I do believe a majority of students would approve of the budget.”
Miller said that there was a structural deficit of approximately $50,000 in fiscal year 2012. Miller said one of the reasons for wanting a large sum in a reserve account was in case of an emergency or for one-time purchases.
According to Section 5.2 of the Student Government bylaws, “Student Government shall not run deficits in its operating budget, except in cases of emergencies as determined by a majority of the Senate.”
In the past, Student Government has used reserve money to replace all the computers in the Student Government offices, and it is now looking at purchasing a color printer that will be available to members of the student group as well as other student organizations.
Miller said he has no plans for the surplus beyond that at this point.
The Student Government budget is funded by students. It draws from portions of the EMU General Fund Fee – which students are charged for every semester they attend the university – and portions of tuition fees.
The only paid members of Student Government are Miller, his vice president Steven Cole and his executive board. Student Senators are elected by the student body and are not paid.
Miller said that Student Government has not seen an increase to its budget from the university in six or seven years, so it is up Student Government to create a reserve account. Tuition and fees have increased at EMU almost every year over the last seven years.
The budget for the 2014-15 school year shows that $256,439.35 is available to Student Government. It does not account for any of last year’s surplus.
The New York Times, which was free to students last year, was cut from the Student Government budget in the 2014-15 year. The current budget also cut homecoming expenses and funding for TurboVote, a service that makes voter registration and absentee voting accessible.
The money spent on The New York Times was initially rumored to have been spent on funding for a 24-hour floor in the library, but the Halle Library is currently not operating at 24 hours a day in any capacity.
Miller said that The New York Times budget went toward sending more students to alternative spring breaks, subsidizing the GRE prep course for students and rapid HIV and STD testing.
Miller said homecoming funding was cut because Campus Life funds the event and it was his choice to use that funding in different areas.
TurboVote was a program Student Government tried out but decided to terminate because it did not perform up to expectations. Instead Student Government is performing campaigns across campus to try and increase student voter participation.