SA sees budget reduction in reflection of declining enrollment

By Kierra Frazier

DeKALB — The Student Association [SA] is creating an ad-hoc committee for finance policy revision after seeing a decrease in its budget due to low enrollment over the past year.

The committee was approved by the Senate at Sunday night’s meeting and will cease to exist once the finance policy has been successfully revised or by the last meeting of the 50th session.

An ad-hoc committee is a temporary committee of the Senate which may be created by the speaker with the approval of the Senate to serve a particular purpose.

Speaker of the Senate Tristan Martin said the administration has told the SA to try to plan out its budget cautiously this year when it comes to student organizations requesting money from the SA.

“We were told to budget for at least a $1.1 million instead of the $1.3 million budget that we had last year,” Martin said. “This is because admission has been down, and it has affected us.”

Total enrollment has declined by 4.8 percent, which made fall 2018 the fourth consecutive semester for a near-five percent decline in enrollment, according to a Sept. 13 Northern Star article.

Legislative Director Ian Pearson said he supported the formation of this working group and asks anyone who serves on the committee to keep in mind the university projected the enrollment is going to continue to fall over the next two to three years before leveling off and as a result, SA is likely to see a funding decrease.

“I’d ask that whoever joins this ad-hoc committee remembers that our funding model has to reflect the fact that we have not only seen a declining budget in recent years, but that [the decline] is not going to end,” Pearson said.

Martin said since enrollment is decreasing, he will provide Student Association Historian Michael Kane with information about the strategic enrollment plan so the committee can accommodate for the future as well.

Kane said there was a bit of a triage approach last year due to the size of reform needed to define the policy and the limited amount of time and effort there was to approach it, which resulted in a lot of work undone.

“There are a number of things, anywhere from connecting the constitution to the bylaws properly so the responsibilities are clear,” Kane said. “That way job descriptions and processes are clearly defined, all the way down to things like dues and what a restricted organization, which is not thoroughly defined, and that’s relevant to the finance policy.”

The 49th session finance policy ad-hoc committee proposed a series of potential reforms to the 50th Session of the Senate. The 50th session is now tasked with building from its work of the previous ad-hoc committee. Kane was a member of the 49th session ad-hoc committee and will serve as the chair of the committee for the 50th session.

Senator Kamp said she thinks it’s a great idea to review a lot of the policies for the SA and the bylaws of the constitution.

“Specifically, I think the finance policy is really important to reflect what money we have right now with student involvement and student enrollment on campus,” Kamp said. “So I think it’s really important to relook at our numbers and our policies going forward.”