At an emergency meeting on Wednesday, April 15, the Undergraduate Student Government senate extended the deadline to pass the 2015-2016 budget to April 24 after President Garry Lachhar vetoed the nearly $3.2 million budget that the senate passed at its April 9 meeting.
The reason Lachhar gave for the veto was the amount of money that was left in unallocated funds. The amount of unallocated funds in the original proposed budget was $303,324.73, compared to $52,966.23 for the 2014-2015 year.
“I thought it was fiscally irresponsible to have that much unallocated when clubs have demonstrated need for it,” Lachhar said.
Treasurer Kathryn Michaud explained the budget committee was being “conservative” while preparing the proposed budget.
“We weren’t assuming that we were going to be getting money in from an increase in the Student Activity Fee because that in itself would be fiscally irresponsible, to assume we would have money that we don’t actually have,” Michaud said. “Plus we haven’t even determined an amount that we want to increase the Student Activity Fee potentially by.”
Vice President of Academic Affairs Steven Adelson said USG does need some unallocated funds, but the conversation should be about how much stays unallocated.
“In previous years we’ve never had this substantial amount of unallocated [funds],” Adelson said. “I don’t think it’s unreasonable to have an equal amount of unallocated funds next year than we did had in this past year.”
Michaud said she will provide the senate with a breakdown of how much money was left unallocated in the proposed budget.
She also said all amendments that were made to the budget at the April 9 senate meeting, including the $40,000 increase given to the Student Activities Board, are now null and void due to the veto.
USG funds clubs and organizations with the Student Activity Fee paid by all Stony Brook University full-time undergraduate students. USG agencies like SAB, which organizes concerts, as well as Roth Regatta and other large-scale events on campus, are also funded by the Student Activity Fee.
“If the Senate Budget Committee and/or Senate fail to approve a budget by the third week of the month of April, the Executive Council shall assume the responsibility to formulate the budget in an Executive Council meeting and passed with a two-thirds majority,” the USG Code states. “Once the budget is approved the Treasurer shall have the budget certified by the Office of Student Affairs as required by the SUNY Chancellor Guidelines.”