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Funding removed from Office of President

Maureen Reynolds | Thursday, February 26, 2004

The Student Senate passed a reallocation of $11,400 from the Office of the Student Body President back to the Financial Management Board by a vote of 17 to 6 with two abstentions at its weekly meeting Wednesday.

The FMB held two separate spending reviews in December and January to “assess how clubs and organizations spent the money allocated to them last March,” and to “give FMB an idea of what to allocate in its upcoming budget meeting,” according to a letter to the Senate from the FMB.

In its assessment, the FMB decided that a total of $11,400 was not needed by the Office of the President and could be better used by other clubs. The reallocated money will be given to the Student Union board, the Hall President’s Council, the Class of 2004 and the Class of 2006. In its letter, the FMB stated that each organization “have events planned for the rest of the semester that need funding.”

“The FMB felt that these events would benefit more students than some of those planned by the Office of the President, and that was their reason for reallocating the money,” the letter continued.

Members of the Office of the President contested the reallocation during the meeting.

Although he was not present, student body president Jeremy Lao sent a letter to the Senate asking senators to leave $10,000 of the money FMB wanted to take. He cited three major events planned by the Office of the President – the Alcohol Awareness Campaign, Student Appreciation Week and the End of the Year Mass – as the reasons why the office needed the money.

“All of the events are named and the expenses already planned,” Lao said in his letter. “I give my office the full faith and confidence that these events will not only be executed, but will also be planned to the best of our capabilities.”

“I have confidence in our staff as well as in our office leadership to get the job done,” Lao said.

Student Union treasurer Don Norton attended the meeting to speak on behalf of the FMB’s decision. He cited the lack of preparation by the Office of the President as one reason the FMB decided to reallocate the money.

“We have given the Office of the President a good three chances [to show us a budget] … I told them this is the decision we’ve come to,” Norton said. “As a board, we thought it was the best decision … other groups seemed better prepared to spend the money.”

Chief of staff Patrick Corker spoke on behalf of the Office of the President, and he tried to explain the delay in presenting the FMB with a budget, citing the turnover when Lao took office in January as a failure in communication.

“I only received one e-mail about the fact that they needed this spreadsheet about three weeks ago,” Corker said. “It did take time, and it got there later than it should have, there’s no question, but I think there are extenuating circumstances.”

“I don’t think we could have come up with this [budget] any sooner. I should have been made aware sooner and given more time,” he said.

Norton, however, said there could not been any more time taken to deliberate the issue.

“The longer we delay … the less people can plan for anything,” he said.

In the end, the Senate voted by secret ballot to give the money back to the FMB for reallocation to other organizations.

In other Senate news:

u The Senate’s academic committee presented a letter regarding distance learning to be sent to Notre Dame faculty, department chairs and administrators asking for names of those interested in learning more about the technology. Senators voted to table this letter until next Wednesday’s meeting.

u Student body vice president Emily Chin reminded senators that they need to hold information sessions in their dorms for any students interested in running for the Student Senate. All new senators, she said, must be elected to their positions by March 19.