Rumors that Student Government Association (SGA) has gone over its semesterly budget have been confirmed by SGA president Nick Santulli and vice president Joseph Khalaf.
â€œ[This deficit] essentially means that the demand of student organizations exceeded the allocation we got for this semester,â€ Santulli said.
In an email interview, Joseph Khalaf explained how the funding allocation process works.
â€œEvery student at Trinity pays a student activity fee (SAF) of $150 per semester,â€ Khalaf wrote. â€œThis money is pooled together and 94 percent is given to SGA to distribute to student organizations.â€ Khalaf explained that the university keeps 6 percent of each yearâ€™s SAF; two percent of the remaining 94 percent funds SGAâ€™s internal operating budget.
University-sponsored organizations and registered student organizations send funding requests to SGA. The vice president of SGA and elected student senators then decide whether to back the proposals.
But according to Santulli, SGA wasnâ€™t told its semesterly budget allocation until mid-February â€” after senators had already heard proposals and approved funding for several events.
â€œWe werenâ€™t really able to estimate how much money we had to allocate before that, and it was lower than we expected it â€” more students, I guess, transferred or withdrew,â€ Santulli said.
A number of unusual surprises complicated this semesterâ€™s budget.
â€œThe previous SGA underfunded recreation sports and we are obligated under contract to fund a five-year average,â€ Khalaf wrote. â€œThe previous SGA also funded a $40,000 spring concert and this expenditure certainly didnâ€™t help the financial situation.â€
Though SGA approved the newly installed B-Cycle station in 2014, it wasnâ€™t paid for by the 2014 SGA budget allocation. $15,000 was pulled from this yearâ€™s SGA budget in order to pay for the station.
â€œThat $15,000, independent of the other issues, would have been fine,â€ Santulli said. â€œWith our budget, weâ€™re going to get a [new] allocation next fall, and weâ€™re really not that much over budget. Weâ€™re not too concerned; weâ€™re still allocating money to groups.â€
Khalaf explained how SGA can still allocate money despite its spending deficit.
â€œWe have been able to overspend because we have a carry-forward account [comprising] excess funds from previous administrations,â€ Khalaf wrote. â€œWe receive more money from the fall allocation next semester and expect to be back in the black for the calendar year.â€
The Trinitonian reached out to SGA treasurer Rachel Daniel, but received no response.