New MUSG budget reduces funding and covers costs

New MUSG budget reduces funding and covers costs

The Marquette Student Government released its proposed budget for fiscal year 2014 at its meeting Thursday. The budget has become a hot topic for the student government after it failed to pass Amendment 5 nearly three weeks ago, which would have removed the 30 percent minimum for student organization funding that is mandatory in the MUSG constitution.

“The fact that (Amendment 5) wasn’t passed made us a little restricted in many ways,” said Financial Vice President Cole Johnson, a sophomore in the College of Business Administration. He said that if the amendment had passed, then the total funds budgeted for SOF would have been less, and the money would have been distributed to other areas that survey results have indicated students would rather have more focus on.

Marquette and MUSG employ a balanced budget philosophy when creating the budget proposal. The proposal was built by the MUSG budget committee, which was made up of Johnson, former President Arica Van Boxtel, outgoing Programs Vice President Matt McGonegle, new Programs Vice President Tyler Tucky, former Arts & Sciences Senator and new Executive Vice President Zach Bowman and Schroeder Hall Senator Thomas Schick.

Due to increased revenue anticipated from late night film releases, the budget proposal is anticipating greater total revenue, and therefore greater total expenses. Other than the increase in total revenue, this year’s proposed budget features only minor differences from last year.

The two largest changes are additions to programs board expenses, including additions to After Dark programs and the Coffeehouse Series. Johnson said additional funding was allocated to these programs because they were successful this past year.

The $2,250 reduction in outreach funding comes after student outreach was made a central issue in the election. The ticket of Will Knight and Dan Bresnahan, who finished third after being found guilty of committing a campaign violation, have said that lack of student participation in MUSG was one of the reasons they decided to pursue the office. Newly elected President Sam Schultz, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences, encouraged MUSG senators to continue outreach in his inaugural address. The MUSG budget committee does not believe that this reduction in outreach funding will necessarily equate to a reduction in outreach.

“We have historically not utilized the whole outreach and advertizing budget,” Johnson said. “Our hope is that with a line that is more manageable, such as $2,000 for something like outreach, we can utilize that better in other areas. Keep in mind that the outreach line is not the only way we do outreach. The president does have some say in where the specific outreach fund will go. Our all-MUSG advertising budget is often utilized for that purpose.”

In addition to the challenges presented by the SOF minimum that would have been eliminated by Amendment 5, the budget committee had to deal with administrative expense increases created by budget cuts to Marquette. Furthermore, according to Johnson, the university faces a five percent across the board budget cut next semester, which has led to MUSG having to cover a greater portion of the Involvement Link software licensing fees.

The proposed budget will now be reviewed by the necessary committees and will be voted on at the senate meeting on April 25th. The outcomes of recent budget votes suggest that it is unlikely anything will change in the senate committees.

“Over the past 10 years, the Senate has not made significant changes to the annual budget proposed by the MUSG Budget Committee,” said Jon Dooley, the Senior Associate Dean of Student Development.

MUSG hopes the budget makes clear its efforts to serve the Marquette undergraduate community.

“Our top priority was to be good stewards of the students’ money,” said Bowman, a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences. “When we take $60 in student activity fees every year, students expect us to be using that money efficiently and to be putting it toward things they see as useful and beneficial to them.”