After nearly four hours of discussion, delegation and debate, the 2015-2016 Undergraduate Student Government budget of nearly $3.2 million passed on Thursday, April 9 and increased the budget for the Student Activities Board to $650,000.
SAB’s original funding remained unchanged on the budget proposal at $610,000. College of Arts and Sciences Senator Nathan Blazon-Brown motioned to increase SAB by $100,000, which failed by a vote of 8-10 and began a debate of quality over quantity regarding Brookfest musical acts. Finally, a motion to allocate $40,000 was proposed and failed initially, but was later reconsidered and passed by a vote of 13-6.
College of Engineering and Applied Sciences Senator John Mele said the increases must have directions before more money is pumped in.
“I think a number with a purpose would be more useful, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be $100,000, it could be somewhere around $35,000 for smaller events,” Mele said. “I don’t know if it’s necessary to have more talent.”
Proxy Senator Oscar Icochea explained the difficulty of using SAB funds to book contemporary, popular acts.
“To put things in perspective, Kendrick Lamar, before he dropped an album, was in a package with Steve Aoki for around $60,000,” Icochea said. “After he got big, and generated a lot of airplay, his price went to around $300,000 for one show. So in the perspective of talent, to get someone who generates a lot of airplay now, the cost would be astronomically high.”
About 20 clubs and organizations have been allocated $0.00 on next year’s proposed budget for various reasons. One such group was WUSB, which came to the meeting to plead its case.
“WUSB is not a club,” Mary Garvey, the radio station’s treasurer, said. “It’s an organization, it’s a service, it’s a historian society that has been here for 39 years. We fundraise more so than any other club because we match our fundraising with the budget you give us, which we failed to obtain this year because I had a death in the family.”
USG Treasurer Kathryn Michaud explained during the meeting that while WUSB will technically have no budget next year if the current proposal passes, there are still ways the radio station and other clubs can regain their budgets. She added that although WUSB did not submit a budget application despite being made aware of the deadline in advance, it would not be fair to other clubs to make exceptions after the deadline.
“I do want to clarify you are not being shut down and you are still eligible to get a budget,” Michaud said.
Clubs that applied for budgets but were cut by 50 percent or more will have the opportunity to regain funding through fall revisions. In the case of clubs that did not apply for budgets and were cut by 50 percent or more, only 50 percent of the amount they were cut by can be regained.
“Whoever is the next USG Treasurer will be sending out emails over the summer, collecting applications, and will be working with the new budget committee to distribute those funds,” Michaud added.
“I just wanted to say, this happens every year, and we’ve never cut WUSB before, so we should just give them their money and move onto the next club,” Vice President of Student Life Kenneth Myers said.
Two early motions to reallocate all of WUSB’s funds back failed and a final motion to approve 50 percent of the group’s budget failed 7-11.
The Stony Brook Sailing Club, which made a comeback after breaking apart in the early ‘80s, received a increase in funding of about $2,000. However, the team treasurer Avi Mayerhoff explained the team’s situation to the senate.
“With this increase, while it is very much appreciated, we’re going to have to cut our club tremendously,” Mayerhoff said. “We would either have to lose our host yacht club, or possibly lose our coach.”
An original motion to add $10,000 to the club’s budget failed 7-11, but a subsequent motion to add $5,000 passed by a vote of 13-5.
As for the budget process as a whole, Michaud said USG changed it up a little bit from what was done in previous years.
“This year what we had as our main objective was to make sure that every club was able to have enough funding to function, provided that they followed the correct policies and procedures,” Michaud said.
She said the first step in creating the new budget was to cut out everything that clubs did not necessarily need to function, and then proceeded from there with budget allocation.
“When you really get down to the core purpose of this organization, it’s to spend money, it’s not to save money,” Myers said. “It’s to spend money in a way to make student life here on campus better.”
Correction: April 14, 2015
A previous version of this story stated that Oscar Icochea is the SAB representative. He does not hold this title.
A previous version of this article also stated that all clubs that were cut by 50 percent or more can only regain 50 percent of their cut budget through fall revisions. The article has been corrected to reflect the different policies for clubs that applied for regular budgets and clubs that did not apply whatsoever when it comes to fall revisions.