The budgets of Coon Rapids campus clubs hit with blanket cut to compensate for a budget shortfall, despite inequitable fund usage.
By: MiKenzi Coons and Luke Gentle
Starting in the fall semester, most Anoka-Ramsey Coon Rapids student clubs will operate with budgets less than what they proposed. Club budgets will be cut by 10 percent across the board, excluding the clubs that had made their own cuts independently.
The Student Activity Budget Committee decided to cut club budgets by 10 percent in an attempt to trim $50,000 from the overall student activity budget.
Director of Development and Engagement Michael Opoku and Becca Larson, former student government president, led five student life budget meetings this semester. Not all Anoka-Ramsey clubs were represented at these meetings. Clubs represented included Theatre, Intermural, Veterans, Band, Club Hockey, and Student Senate.
Opoku and Larson proposed a reduced budget plan during the second budgeting meeting. This plan would have reduced the art-related clubs budgets, such as theater and choir, at a higher level than the other clubs at Anoka-Ramsey.
The proposed budget plan received negative feedback at the meeting.
Opoku asked each club present to create a proposed budget plan, which would be presented anonymously at the subsequent meeting.
“[The budgeting meeting] wasn’t as efficient as it should have been or could have been,” said Joyce Traczyk, the director of student activities.
A few clubs created proposed budget plans after Opoku’s request was made but these new plans were only skimmed before the committee decided to make an overall ten percent budget cut for all clubs.
“That was what the [Student Activity Budget Committee] decided, as a whole, was the best action,” Opoku said regarding overall club budget decrease.
Despite this decision, inequitable fund usage is apparent.
Of the numerous clubs requesting money for next semester, the generic Clubs budget line is one of the most costly and underutilized. This budget line is a collection of small club budgets such as GERRL, Anime, and Computer Science. The budget also includes extra money for possible clubs to sprout up in the upcoming school year. The unused money at the end of each school year for all clubs is put into the college reserves.
In the past two years, the Clubs budget line has left a total of $29,262 in unused funds. As of Feb. 10 the Clubs budget had a balance of $27,828.
“Clubs request money, we add it up, and it equals to that high amount and then the clubs never follow through in using it,” Traczyk said.
For next year, Traczyk requested $25,000 for Clubs. According to the budget requests turned in that are considered under this budget line, the budget amounts add up to $17,550. The Student Activity Budget Committee did not ask individual clubs to trim budgets if they never followed through on using funds in the past.
The money for the clubs at Anoka-Ramsey comes from student tuition. This is the Student Activities fee found on students’ tuition statements. Students are charged $5.05 a credit to cover the cost of the clubs.
After the committee decided on the final budget proposal, Opoku sent out an email to the committee stating that there was a $12,000 error in the Student Center budget line. The previous amount that the committee saw projected was $25,000.
With the proposed 10% cut, the actual amount that the Student Center would receive is $33,300.
Opoku asked for a yes or no vote to decide whether or not the additional amount of money would be taken out of the reserve fund to cover the mistake. A lack of response would be counted as a yes vote.
Editor’s note: Jessica Lueck, copy editor of The Campus Eye, was present at these meetings as a student representative, not a reporter. Reporting for this story was done outside of these meetings.5