Some SIU organizations upset over USG funding

Daily Egyptian file photo

Daily Egyptian file photo

By Shannon Allen

Students from Registered Student Organizations took their funding complaints to the first Undergraduate Student Government meeting of the semester Tuesday evening.

Students from the Hispanic Student Council and the Latino Cultural Association — RSOs that didn’t receive the full amount of funding they requested for this school year — expressed their monetary concerns to USG president Jared Stern.

Stern said because the state is still in a budget deficit, money is tight for all campus organizations, including USG, which is suffering from a $90,000 funding cut.


Last year, the nearly $80,000 that was appropriated to RSOs for operational funding was determined to be null and void after it was found that voting proxies — substitutes for elected student representatives — were not authorized to cast ballots.

The process of disbursing funds to the student-led organizations was essentially re-started this semester after Stern used special powers granted to him under USG’s constitution.

Alejandro Franchini, president of Hispanic Student Council, said his group requested a $10,000 budget for the 2016-2017 fiscal year. While USG approved the full amount of money requested for other organizations, such as the Black Affairs Council and the International Student Council, the Hispanic council was only given $5,000.

“These two councils do the same kind of work we do, yet we only received half of what we asked for,” Franchini said. “I’m not going to be able to pay my council members with this small amount of money.”

MORE: SIU enrollment at lowest point since 1965, data shows

Yahaira Heller, former president of the Latino Cultural Association, said umbrella groups used to be able to bid for $20,000 for the fiscal year to maintain an office, pay members and create programs for their group.

The updated 2016-2017 USG constitution says umbrella groups can only bid $10,000 per year.


“Reducing this money by half for an entire year is basically telling us we can’t have any event funding,” said Heller, a senior from Puerto Rico studying political science. “They are essentially clipping our wings because it takes almost $10,000 just to maintain an office.”

Stern said every organization was given the same opportunity to request money, but funds were allocated based partially on presentation by the groups.

“By giving different amounts, we are in no way trying to say that some organizations are more entitled to that amount of money than others,” he said.

Stern said his group also gave every club the chance to deny the money allocated to them and readdress funding need if they so desired.

The USG president said although the Hispanic council accepted its $5,000 reward, Franchini emailed him asking for an explanation.

“I just wanted to know why we didn’t get $10,000 for a year when other groups are getting approved $2,000 for single events,” Franchini said. “The only reason I accepted the $5,000 was because I was afraid we wouldn’t get anything if I fought it.”

MORE: SIU student-made film “Unconditional” shot in 20 days

The Tuesday meeting was also used to induct 22 new senators to the USG in front of a crowd of about 50 people.

“Our first concern this year was getting our senate full,” Stern said of hoping to recruit a senate composed of 48 members. “The number of people here was more than I saw for most of last year.”

Stern said the allocation of the seats is meant to accurately represent each group of students on campus, but if the seats are not filled, the group loses credibility.

“This year, we cleaned up a lot of the gray area,” Stern said. “We outlined voting procedures, focusing on more community outreach and creating awareness for student affairs on campus.”

Note: An earlier version of this story stated Undergraduate Student Government was facing a $9,000 cut. The actual cut is $90,000.

Staff writer Shannon Allen can be reached at 618-536-3326, [email protected] or on Twitter @ShannonAllen_DE.

To stay up to date with all your SIU and Carbondale news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.