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Budget Committee Minutes

April 21st, 2012

  • Location: Leighton 304
  • Time: 12:00 pm
  • Present: Vice President Dara, Treasurer Buss, Senators Nordgaard and Weinstein, and Members Choi, Comstock-Gay, Heckman, Kim, Strand, Suzuki, and Wong
  • Absent: Member Schachter
  • Secretary: Edward Malnar

The meeting was called to order at 12:24 PM.  The meeting opened with a review of the bylaws and guidelines related to the Spring Allocations process. 

Local Bus Service

Lagniappe

Metro Arts Access Fund

3rd Center/ Alt-Bev Fund

Newspapers

SA Scholarship Fund

Student Work Study

ACT-Alt Spring Break

ACT- Operating

Club Sports

AMSA

Amnesty Intl.

ASIA

Baking for Little Dough

BSA

Carleton Quiz Team

CANOE

Catholic Association

CSA

Carleton GameDev

Carleton Crew

Carleton Democrats

Carleton EMTs

Carleton Debate

Carleton Graphic

Carleton Investment Group

Carleton Microfinance Club

Carleton Robotics

Carleton Rugcutters

Carleton Take back the Tap

CHS

DESI

Ebony II

Engineers without Borders

Farm Club

Folk Music Society

Cheerboys

Handbell Choir

Hill of Three Oaks Brewery

J Street U

JSC

Knightengales

KRLX

LASO

Lenny D

The Manuscript

Nightshade

SaGA

SAPB

SOPE

SUMO

Students for Education Reform

Team Tibet

The Cave

The Lens

Tim Viet

Archery Club

Local Bus

Amount Requested: $7,000

Amount Approved: $7,000

Weinstein: This is a really useful service to college students and is definitely something we should keep going.

Lagniappe

Amount Requested: $5,000

Amount Approved: $0

Nordgaard: I don’t use the one I received and I expect that a lot of students don’t.

Weinstein: I think many students will use other tools, like their laptops, smartphones, or other calendars.

Dara: I think that mainly freshmen students use them, especially at the beginning of the year.

Wong: I agree, I think it’s a traditional gift and most useful to freshmen.

Nordgaard: Maybe we could use fewer.

Buss: The amount we are funding now doesn’t make sense, since not all students take their free copy.  We need more information of the cost of producing the books and a justification of the reason to keep producing these large amounts of the Lagniappe.

$0 bid approved in order to receive appeal to Budget Committee.

Metro Access Arts Fund

Amount Requested: $5,000

Amount Approved: $5,000

Weinstein: This is a really useful service to college students and is definitely something we should keep going.

3rd Center/ Alt-Bev Fund

Amount Requested: $4,500

Amount Approved: $3,500

Buss: I think the amount is perfect to cover the diverse needs on campus.

Weinstein: This is a lot of money and I think we could cut it.

Nordgaard: I think we should keep it because of student demand, but it does not need to be so large.

Suzuki: I think $3,500 would be a fair amount to balance reduced amount while meeting student needs.  Treasurer Buss, Member Wong, and Member Weinstein agreed that this was reasonable plan.

$3,500 was approved by the Budget Committee.

Newspapers

Amount Requested: $8,000

Amount Approved: $8,000

Buss: This is following a recent change of the newspaper contract.  For the same price, we now get more papers, New York Times Online access codes, and an additional drop site over the old contract.  I think this is a totally worthwhile use of funds.

Student Activities Scholarship Fund

Amount Requested: $13,000

Amount Approved: $13,000

Heckman: It may appear a great deal of money, but this is to help students who can’t afford the Student Activity Fee.  This is its third year, and has been very well received by students in need of financial aid.

Student Work Study

Amount Requested: $5,568

Amount Approved: $5,568

Weinstein: I think the two offices we have [CSA Secretary, Student Activities Advertising Coordinator] are of great use and value to the institution.

ACT: Alternate Spring Break

Amount Requested: $12,911

Amount Approved: $0

Member Comstock-Gay left the room for these two discussions.

Weinstein: I’m going to have to speak against this because it is a very expensive program that asks us to subsidize most of the cost of students going to another state to do work for Habitat for Humanity.  These students would each receive more than they gave in the student activity fee, which cannot be a fair distribution of funding.  Also, this includes a large amount of spending on fossil fuels, so I think we could save a lot from cutting that travel cost, about $2,700, just by doing more local work, even in the Twin Cities. 

Most of the Committee agreed with this reasoning, stressing the value of local volunteer work, which could be less expensive on account of travel and organization, and sought a more cost effective way to continue volunteer activities.

ACT Center

Amount Requested: $12,000

Amount Approved: $12,000

Weinstein: This money is for all of the great things ACT does around Northfield, a lot of help for our local community.  They do an excellent job and provide a lot of important experiences for students.  They deserve our funding.

Wong: Agreed, this is a very involved group that does so many different things.

Club Sports

Amount Requested: $115,000

Amount Approved: $105,000

Weinstein: I am not comfortable with the creep of money allocated; the increase of annual expenses in the past few years has totaled nearly $20,000.

Buss: If we were to allocate all of the money requested this year, it would be an increase of 20.5% of last year’s total budget to 23% of this year.  This huge increase is inconsistent with our spending.

Wong: I would suggest an analysis of the group’s costs, although I suppose it will be difficult to measure the varying cost for each kind of sport, how many people are involved, how successful or competitive they are, and how much each participant contributes.

Weinstein: “We will not give them whatever they want every year,” but we cannot punish talented people for being talented.

Nordgaard: I think we should cap annual spending at a set percentage of our budget.  I propose a piece of policy for spending: As long as there is a moratorium on club sports, we will not be increasing our funding as a percentage of our income to club sports, in addition, we stipulate that all sports players are required to pay dues.

Weinstein: I’d like to modify that to ‘all sports players are required to pay dues at a minimum of, say, $50 if the sport wishes to receive CSA Spring Allocation funding.’  This will help balance out things with the clubs that don’t make requests because they have almost no spending with the larger clubs that need more money.  Any club which will accept anyone does not have to require dues and if they want to make a request, they can appear at Budget Committee at any time, while the more seriously competitive groups, the ones that travel, will require dues in order to get funding. 

Dara: It’s not going to save us much money, but it may effectively help balance a cap if we place it on spending.

Strand: Effectively this just forces small clubs out of Spring Allocations.

Buss: But this would mean those sports that don’t need so much spending function like regular clubs.

American Medical Student Association

Amount Requested: $437

Amount Approved: $360

Wong: These supplies look to be used to promote the group, which appears seed money.  I do not support $77 of seed money.

Heckman: That’s a lot of money for postage.  I think we should cut that in half.

Nordgaard: Agreed, we can cut these costs because they are large and nonessential.

Wong: Considering the controversy of how available these events are, if you make them open to campus and get interest, I think we can encourage the trips to the Mayo Clinic, etc. by helping them out with advertising and transportation.

Weinstein: I am not comfortably with how much this resembles career preparation.

Buss: I don’t think these activities are going to be directly useful or direct training for a position in medicine, but mainly educational.

Strand: Something like this should not be condemned for being close to career preparatory.

$360 was approved by the Budget Committee.

Amnesty International

Amount Requested: $130

Amount Approved: $130

Weinstein: This is a small amount of money to crepe fundraising and promoting awareness of social justice issues.

Strand: I agree that the reasoning seems fine and it is for crepes, which we allow.

ASIA

Amount Requested: $2,130

Amount Approved: $940

Dara: I’d like to point out that a very large amount for the Lunar New Year is for catered food.  I’d like to see more put toward student efforts to make the food and make it an interactive experience.

Wong: The celebration is based on food and that is what people attending will gain and what the campus has come to expect.  In order to make sure everyone has food, we will need some kind of catering.  This past year, a small amount of food funding [perhaps 15%] was used for student prepared food, with all involved students cooking as much as they could in the days before the event.

Weinstein: It is really hard to prepare that much food.

Buss: We are trying to set precedent on funding food for events.  I think in order to be clear in our expectations of groups, it is necessary to establish a clear idea of whether we are willing to fund food, and right now we appear split between ‘no funding on all accounts’ or ‘yes for educational value.’

Weinstein: So what if we double the amount for student made food?

Kim: I don’t think additional funding would make that much of a difference since it would place higher expectations on the students hosting the event, who are the students who probably will least need the educational experience.

Wong: $1,000 would offer only $5 toward each student, and I do not think that would provide for a full meal.

Buss: We should cut the money for “soda/napkins/utensils.”  I suggest $0 for all catered food.

Kim: cutting it like that would expect a few students to put in a lot of time and effort into making food.

Nordgaard: I agree with Cooper.  Student activity money can be better spent when all students are already paying for food on their meal plans.  I don’t want money to provide a full meal, although I understand it may be difficult to qualify exactly how much that is.

Wong: Cutting the culinary spending to half may still work to get food to everyone and still encouraging a lot of student participation in the preparation.

$940 was approved by the Budget Committee for Lunar New Year costs and the operational budget.

Baking for Little Dough

Amount Requested: $75

Amount Approved: $75

The amount approved is for the operational budget of a chartered organization.

Black Student Alliance

Amount Requested: $75

Amount Approved: $0

This decision reflects the absence of any money requested in the Spring Allocations form.

Carleton Quiz Bowl Team

Amount Requested: $2,610

Amount Approved: $2,610

Buss: This money is mostly going toward their travel costs so that they can continue to be a nationally competitive team.

Weinstein: We are basically subsidizing the operation of their group.  They are not abusing the costs at all.

Carelton Association of Nature and Outdoors Enthusiast

Amount Requested: $13,192

Amount Approved: $9,408

$3,483 was for supplies/equipment that the group would maintain, $7,700 for transportation, and the balance for spring break options (a trip and wilderness first responder training).

Weinstein: We don’t want them using old, worn, and unsafe equipment.

Heckman: But some of these single time costs, like the snowshoeing, I feel should be covered more by the students.  I don’t deny that we could subsidize it, but ask that the students attending be willing to spend the majority of the personal cost.  Bid for $600 of $1,100

Buss: I agree; even though this rock climbing gear is connected only to one planned event, but they get to hold onto the equipment for future use.  We should also fund only $5 on advertising.

Wong: I am fine with not funding a spring break trip.

Weinstein: agreed- this is like an alternative spring break and I am not comfortable funding it.

Buss: I am not sure about the dogsledding trip; it seems a lot of money for a few students.

Weinstein: For some of these larger trips, let’s give it a $0 now and have them present at Budget Committee what they really need and how many people they will reach.

$9.408 was approved by the Budget Committee for equipment and transportation costs.

Carleton Catholics Association

Amount Requested: $75

Amount Approved: $75

Malnar: This money is mostly directed towards office expenses, such as providing the Budget Committee with meeting handouts detailing the requests and maintaining binders and materials for the Senate.

The amount approved is for the operational budget of a chartered organization.

Carleton Student Association

Amount Requested: $75

Amount Approved: $75

The amount approved is for the operational budget of a chartered organization.

Carleton Game Development Club

Amount Requested: $75

Amount Approved: $75

The amount approved is for the operational budget of a chartered organization.

Carleton Crew

Amount Requested: $75

Amount Approved: $75

The amount approved is for the operational budget of a chartered organization.

Carleton Democrats

Amount Requested: $75

Amount Approved: $75

The amount approved is for the operational budget of a chartered organization.

Carleton Emergency Medical Technicians

Amount Requested: $75

Amount Approved: $75

The amount approved is for the operational budget of a chartered organization.

Carleton Figure Skating Club

Amount Requested: $75

Amount Approved: $0

This decision reflects the absence of any money requested in the Spring Allocations form.

Carleton Forensics/ Debate Club

Amount Requested: $4,750

Amount Approved: $4,750

Weinstein: We need to support our academic teams as well as our athletic.  This group did really well last year and has been limited only by the lacking of funding.

Buss: Furthermore, designating this money for nationals provides incentive to do well in order to use these funds.  We are guaranteeing that they can compete at the top levels if they continue to earn it.

Carleton Graphic

Amount Requested: $3,463

Amount Approved: $3,463

Wong: As they showed us recently, this is a really special publication that produces a lot and is a great part of the campus.

Heckman: Agreed, this is a special publication and deserves funding.

Carleton Investment Group

Amount Requested: $75

Amount Approved: $75

The amount approved is for the operational budget of a chartered organization.

Carleton Microfinance Club

Amount Requested: $75

Amount Approved: $75

The amount approved is for the operational budget of a chartered organization.

Carleton Robotics

Amount Requested: $500

Amount Approved: $500

Malnar: I know the club and have seen their work.  What they do fits a very special largely lacking at Carleton; it is a way for students to use computer programming and engineering creatively.  This club provides a unique experience and is educating in the practice of designing, building, and programming robots.

Dara: The robots themselves are kept on campus and thus are not personal property.

Carleton Rugcutters

Amount Requested: $1,200

Amount Approved: $1,200

Dara: This is essentially the same as the revised request made earlier this term and what we asked them to do.

Buss: It is a great annual event and less than half the original cost.

Carleton Take back the Tap

Amount Requested: $75

Amount Approved: $75

The amount approved is for the operational budget of a chartered organization.

Coalition of Hmong Students

Amount Requested: $450

Amount Approved: $150

Wong: We should offer a discretionary amount per the guidelines since their request is very vague, and have them come to Budget Committee for more specific events.

Dedicated to the Exploration of Southeast-Asian Interests

Amount Requested: $160

Amount Approved: $60

Suzuki: This request does not appear to follow the guidelines on food costs for events; I recommend a $0 bid.

Weinstein: I’ll agree on the “snacks,” but the rest could be reasonably put toward cultural events.

$60 was approved by the Budget Committee.

Ebony II

Amount Requested: $3,715

Amount Approved: $3,715

The costs are necessary for stage setup so as to ensure a good and safe show.

Engineers without Borders

Amount Requested: $2,400

Amount Approved: $400

$400 was approved by the Budget Committee to cover membership dues to the Engineers without Borders, while the remainder of the request was vague and the Budget Committee wished to see a more detailed request.

Farm Club

Amount Requested: $750

Amount Approved: $350

Weinstein: We should definitely continue Eat the Lawn.

Buss: $275 is for improving their infrastructure.  This is something we should consider supporting.

Nordgaard: I’m not very comfortable with wages for someone to do their gardening.

Weinstein: Well someone’s got to take care of things and students may not be residing there all summer who know enough to run it all by themselves.

$400 was approved by the Budget Committee for Eat the Lawn and materials for greenhousing.

Folk Music Society

Amount Requested: $1,600

Amount Approved: $800

Buss: This request is basically for two Contra Dances, although I don’t see why there is a need for two.

Wong: We should evaluate this for a diversity of experience; if there were something different about a second major event, I’d be ok with funding it.

Gender Neutral Cheerboys

Amount Requested: $75

Amount Approved: $75

The amount approved is for the operational budget of a chartered organization.

Carleton Handbell Choir

Amount Requested: $75

Amount Approved: $75

The amount approved is for the operational budget of a chartered organization.

Hill of Three Oaks Brewery

Amount Requested: $1,000

Amount Approved: $1,000

Weinstein: Because they’re doing all the work themselves, I see this as an educational experience.

Nordgaard: This is a cool opportunity and something fairly unique to Carleton.

Heckman: They also host a cookoff and share what they produce at Rotblatt.

J Street U

Amount Requested: $75

Amount Approved: $75

The amount approved is for the operational budget of a chartered organization.

Jewish Students of Carleton

Amount Requested: $2,080

Amount Approved: $520

For this discussion, Members Weinstein and Heckman left the room for this discussion.

Strand: This is for food that does not appear to be culturally significant or provide a learning experience. [according to the form, the food was described as ‘kosher’ but gave no other indication of cultural value]  What is the reasoning behind this request?

Buss: I think we should limit the number of meals, maybe every other week.

Dara: In that case, it may as well be once per term.

Wong: To answer the standing question, they imbue the meal with religious significance, including it as part of their worship.  But I agree it’s our responsibility to fund their weekly meal.

Strand: It seems as though this is direct subsidization of a single religious organization’s practice of their faith; I don’t know of us doing such for any other group.

Buss: Do non-Jewish students attend this?  Historically our spending is for entertainment, education, or capital.  It could only possible apply toward educational, but only if non-Jewish students attend.

Nordgaard: We should give a $0 bid so that they can come to Budget Committee and defend this request.

Wong: We should give $0 because I don’t want this one group to feel excluded.

Strand: “Just because people are angry at us doesn’t mean we are doing something wrong.”

Comstock-Gay: We should provide some funding, but every week is a lot.  $0 bid may send the wrong message, so maybe a half-bid would be a better way to start a discussion.

Buss: But frankly, if it’s the same group going any week, our student fees are not doing much for the campus.

Wong: “There is value to giving voice to underrepresented students.”

Choi: But we should not fund a single religious group; that’s unfair

Nordgaard: Then how about a different plan. Instead of weekly funding, what if we provide an amount that could be used to set up an inclusive educational event like other groups and no more than one per term.  If they are unhappy with this, we can start a discussion and learn more from them.

$540 was approved by the Budget Committee.

Knightengales

Amount Requested: $75

Amount Approved: $75

The amount approved is for the operational budget of a chartered organization.

KRLX

Amount Requested: $7,888

Amount Approved: $4,968

Malnar: I’d like to speak to this as a DJ and Record Librarian.  The majority of this request is for operating costs.  Much of the equipment listed here as additional items legitimately need to be replaced, especially the items for the record library and main booth.

Buss: Many of these items for a second booth look very unnecessary and also quite overpriced.

$4,968 was approved by the Budget Committee to cover the station’s operating costs and replace equipment purchased with CSA funding.

Latin American Students’ Organization

Amount Requested: $1,800

Amount Approved: $750        

Discussion started on an event request for Día de los Muertos, followed by Latin Heat and ¡Vive!.  Not all discussion was event specific and an effort has been made to indicate these with the markers [DM], [LH], and [V].

Nordgaard: I think it’s acceptable to fund the food in limited amounts, so long as we do not fund full meals.

Wong: Based on the recent requests, I think we know that we don’t need to put so much toward food for each event.

Weinstein: Just because it’s food doesn’t mean we have to fund it for a cultural event.

Wong: I would agree if we allow no more than $5 per person.

Suzuki: We should reduce the amount; I believe the event [DM] could operate with much less money.

Weinstein>Buss: We do in fact need to support the decorations.  The flowers carry very important symbolic significance.

Wong: But the group of dancers is the same we had last year, so I don’t think we need that. $515 bid for [DM]

Nordgaard: I think we can allow for the food at [V], but not full funding.  $235 bid

Buss: We should not consider the Carnaval event, lacking precedent set by Senate as the request was tabled.  We should not consider that right now.

$750 was approved by the Budget Committee for the Día de los Muertos and ¡Vive! events.

Lenny D

Amount Requested: $75

Amount Approved: $75

The amount approved is for the operational budget of a chartered organization.

The Manuscript

Amount Requested: $2,600

Amount Approved: $2,600

Nordgaard: I’d like to present the idea of having a set amount set aside for publications just like club sports.

Choi: I don’t know if we’d like to make clear limits that would automatically force some publications to take money away from others; it would be prioritizing publications unfairly.

Nordgaard: I agree that we should not institutionalize certain pieces, but continue to protect the publications that are so distinguished of our campus.

Buss: We cannot change anything right now, so we shall continue to approach these individually.

$750 was approved by the Budget Committee.

Nightshade

Amount Requested: $200

Amount Approved: $200

Weinstein: This is the discretionary limit for a group and this is a great group of performers who understandably needs sheet music.

Sexuality and Gender Activism

Amount Requested: $4,146

Amount Approved: $4,146

Weinstein: The request is two parts: $4,050 for the Drag Show (the same as last year) and $96 for transport to the capitol for lobby day.  These, especially the drag show, are important events that help to establish a welcoming environment for students.  The drag show is the only event that appeals to both gay and straight people and makes people more comfortable with others.

Dara: “I’m just not sure if I’m in favor of it every year.”

Buss: Nevertheless it is very popular and well attended.

$4,196 was approved by the Budget Committee.

Student Activities Planning Board

Amount Requested: $93,743

Amount Approved: $89,898

The Student Organization Fair received full funding, $3,500.

Dara: I do not agree with the funding of personal property of t-shirts for “volunteers” for Spring Concert setup.  If they are receiving compensation, they are not really volunteers, anyway.

Nordgaard: I do not think a photo booth would be useful either.  Most people have cameras or phones with cameras by this time.  We should not fund that, but I’m fine with the rest so that we can set up everything and maintain the same quality of the concert as previous years.

$71,190 of $73,635 approved.

Nordgaard: I think we should cut the outrageous amount for food at Battle of the Bands.  $1,000 is too much, although I respect the intention of having food to counteract anyone’s drinking.  Since we don’t know how much they’ll really need, I think we can just cut that item.

$2,050 of $3,050 approved for sound equipment and setup.

Nordgaard: “We need to have a discussion on whether we are actually going to fund [Cowling dances].”  There were a lot this year and we need to think more about why we’re supporting all of this.

Weinstein: At least, we do not need glow-sticks and glasses.  These are personal property and unimportant to the event.

$4,000 of $4,500 approved for DJ and security.

Weinstein: We should keep the Comedy Show and Slam Poetry.  UCB and 2nd City Improv are both really great, and it’s well attended.  It fits in well with the humor groups on campus to make for a really fun and interactive event.

Full funding, $3,325 and $1,500 approved.

Wong: we should do laser tag again.  It is for the type of event relatively inexpensive and very memorable.

Buss: Now that the campus knows about this, I expect it to be a lot more popular in the future.

Full funding, $1,033 approved.

Full funding for apple picking ($1,000) approved.

Wong: To use Travis’ reasoning on Battle of the Bands, let’s cut the food costs from the Superhero party.

$1,800 of $2,300 approved for DJ setup and venue.

Student Organization for the Protection of the Environment

Amount Requested: $75

Amount Approved: $75

The amount approved is for the operational budget of a chartered organization.

Student Union Movie Organization

Amount Requested: $49,019

Amount Approved: $45,472

Dara: I’d like to refer to the presentation from Thursday.  SUMO’s popularity has expanded significantly.

Heckman: We should definitely do it, but I think we can cut some money from the outdoor screenings.  I don’t think we need more than one per term and it’s rather unreasonable to try having an ‘outdoor’ screening (really in the Rec Center) in the winter.

$45,472 was approved by the Budget Committee.

Students for Education Reform

Amount Requested: $75

Amount Approved: $75

The amount approved is for the operational budget of a chartered organization.

Team Tibet

Amount Requested: $75

Amount Approved: $75

The amount approved is for the operational budget of a chartered organization.

The Cave

Amount Requested: $48,630

Amount Approved: $48,630

Weinstein: These costs are needed to keep the Cave going, which is something we fund and oversee.  It is an excellent part of campus and something that very much deserves to keep going.  We don't need to consider the request items right now, they can come back for those.

The Lens

Amount Requested: $7,999

Amount Approved: $7,999

Dara: Perhaps this would be a better request if they were looking for fewer copies; this is an expensive publication as it is.

Buss: This is the same price per issue as the Manuscript, and this one is an award-winning publication that should be continued.

Tim Viet

Amount Requested: $75

Amount Approved: $75

The amount approved is for the operational budget of a chartered organization.

Western Archery Club

Amount Requested: $425

Amount Approved: $425

Malnar: This request is for basic equipment and maintenance of previously purchased equipment.  Practicing outside, the gear is exposed to considerably wear and at some point in the coming year, we will need to purchase a new set of arrows.