Carleton College's student newspaper since 1877

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Big Spender: Spring als doles out 600 grand

<st Saturday, 14 students met in Sayles 251 at 9am, closed the doors and did not leave until 5:30 p.m. Their task was to budget $577,000 of CSA funds for the 2015-2016 academic year.

Where would this hefty sum come from? Students, who will pay a Student Activity Fee of $276 as part of their tuition next year.

The students with this task make up Budget Committee, a permanent committee of the CSA that makes recommendations to the CSA Senate on how to spend its annual budget.

This Committee’s decisions affect every club at Carleton with an operating budget, as well as major campus events like Spring Concert. Senate appoints the students who wield this power.

Last Saturday, these students undertook “Spring Allocations” – which is senate speak for an annual spring term meeting in which Budget Committee allocates the majority of next year’s budget. All clubs requesting an operating budget had to submit a proposal that details and justifies their proposed expenses.

The Budget Committee recommendation will not become public until late spring term, but according to one member of budget committee, all but $100,000 of the CSA budget was recommended for allocation last Saturday.

The recommendation will go to the CSA Senate for approval after appeals by individual clubs, who have three weeks to contest the amount awarded to them. According to the same committee member, the committee has put an additional $30,000 aside for the appeal process.

Which leaves $70,000- $100,000 left in the budget, depending on appeals. This is typical, as the vast majority of requests are yearly requests that the CSA can allocate money to early on.

As budget committee member Abha Laddha ’17 puts it, “I would give you the example of cultural organizations which usually come into spring allocations because they know they’re going to celebrate all their festivals. By now, they all have a good idea of the breakdown of the amount it’s going to cost.”

The Committee also funds several big requests during Spring Allocations, including Spring Concert and the Halloween Dance, which SAO hosted for the first time this year.

One Budget Committee member anonymously expressed dissatisfaction that the committee allocated $20,000 to the Halloween Concert. This is over three times the price of a Cowling Dance, this member pointed out, and even more expensive than a dance at The Grand.

Some discontent among students with the price of the dance last year suggests this may be a contested item when the recommendation reaches Senate.

For the $70,000-$100,000 that remains unallocated, Budget Committee will receive requests from different student groups over the course of next year, and will make recommendations to Senate on a weekly basis. These rolling requests and recommendations are called “Special Allocations.”

The potential number for Special Allocations next year falls in line with the current year, in which the Budget Committee reserved $88,000.

However, this year, $88,000 did not prove to be enough, as the CSA ended up spending more than its income, and dipping into its capital reserves. These capital reserves, hovering around $200,000, include student activity fees from Carleton students of the last decade.

In order to utilize this money, the CSA a few years ago established the Committee on Special Projects (CSP) with the guiding philosophy that money from previous generations of Carls should impact future generations of Carls and therefore be invested in permanent projects. However, this year the CSA needed to dip into these funds in order to retain financial solvency.

Of course, Budget Committee’s decisions do not take effect unless if approved by Senate later this term. It is often difficult to predict if Senate will make objections to the proposed budget, and if so, what objections.

The members of Budget Committee seem generally optimistic, however. “I think there will be some items CSA Senate will ask for clarification on, especially given that Senate represents the student body,” said Robert Kaylor ’16, Senate Liaison to the committee. “Some students may not be happy with their budget recommendation, but overall, I think the budget is a strong one.”

According to Kaylor, during the allocations process, “the general feeling in the room was one of camaraderie,” despite occasionally heated arguments.


Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Carletonian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *