The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Group weighs in on fiscal policy

Karen Langley | Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Student leaders debated changes to the student government’s fiscal policy at the Council of Representatives (COR) meeting Monday night, adding ideas for a new programming fund to the discussion, which has been ongoing since November.

Student body president Dave Baron and student body vice president Lizzi Shappell met with Father Mark Poorman, vice president for student affairs, on Jan. 20 to discuss COR’s idea to use their carry-forward fund – which currently contains $180,000 – to create an endowment for future student government expenditures. Poorman expressed reluctance to funnel the money into an endowment since carry-forward fund money originated from student activity fees, which are meant to be used immediately, Baron said.

“What we’re thinking about now is creating a programming fund,” Shappell said. “Any student group could apply, and funds could cover an event entirely or supplement larger events.”

Shappell and Baron suggested creating a cap of $100,000 on the carry-over fund and taking $100,000 from that fund to place in a programming fund, which would be run under the supervision of Student Affairs and Student Activities. This would leave room for the carry-over fund to grow by $20,000 before hitting its cap.

“The idea behind putting it under the joint operation of Student Affairs and Student Activities is they have the most contact with donors,” Baron said. “At various times, people come to Father Poorman and say, ‘How can I benefit student life?’ If we get a vested interest from [Student Affairs and Student Activities], this is something we can bring to the table.”

Under the proposal, groups would be able to apply for portions of the $20,000 that would be available from the fund for programming each year. This fund would last for five years if left alone, but its affiliation with Student Affairs and Student Activities might lead to supplementation by donors.

COR members debated whether the $20,000 should be spent on one large, new or supplementary project or if it should be divided among as many groups as apply.

“The money should be kept as one lump sum to make one noticeable difference,” said O’Neill senator Steve Tortorello. “Otherwise, everyone in the world will apply, and it will get chopped up until it’s like [the fund] didn’t exist.”

Judicial Council president James Leito asked if student government would accept donations for the programming fund from donors who had specific requirements for the use of their gift.

“I’d say anybody who’s willing to give us money, we should take it,” he said.