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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

UNM student organizations bear cost cuts

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By Sergio Jiménez / New Mexico Daily Lobo

Attorney general of the Associated Students of the University of New Mexico Matt Fleischer explains his stance on the budget by demonstrating with a dollar bill from his wallet during a Student Fee Review Board deliberation Sunday afternoon.

news@dailylobo.com

In the first of two deliberation sessions, UNM’s Student Fee Review Board met Saturday to discuss where to allocate student money in the next fiscal year.

While none of the decisions are final, the SFRB gave an estimated amount for most of the ethnic centers and also the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Resource Center.

The board voted to grant the amount of recurring funds the center requested, which is $5.66 per student. Last year the center was funded at $3.95 per student, according to the SFRB website.

Maria Elena Corral, the council chair for the Graduate and Professional Student Association of UNM and a non-voting SFRB member, motioned to grant the $5.66 with the stipulation that the center seeks outside funding.

LGBTQ Center Director Alma Rosa Silva-Banuelos said even if the center receives the requested increase, it will still be taking cuts.

“We had gotten that three-year (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) grant. It was $100,000 a year,” she said. “That is now ending at the end of this fiscal year.”

The board voted to reduce the center’s one-time funding from the requested $5,000 to $3,500.

GPSA President Priscila Poliana, a voting member on the SFRB, proposed lowering the one-time funding to $3,500 as a compromise.

GPSA Council member Luke Holmen, a non-voting SFRB member, initially proposed to lower the funding to $2,500.

“Not that I don’t want to give students every opportunity,” he said, “but I think we need to implement cost-cutting measures.”

The Student Fee Review Board also voted to give the members of El Centro de la Raza their requested amount of recurring funding at $7.06 per student. The board cut the requested funding for the Women’s Resource Center by $.04 per student, standing now at $4.57.

The board had to deliberate on whether to grant money for staff salaries to American Indian Student Services.

GPSA Chief of Staff Matthew Rush said he thinks the board should come up with a recommendation on whether to fund staff salaries for future members of the SFRB.

“I think that the Student Fee Review Board should not be considering staff salaries for the future,” he said. “I think those should come out of Instruction and General (Funds).”

Isaac Romero, president of Associated Students of the University of New Mexico and voting member of SFRB, said he wanted to fund the staff salaries for the time being.

“I don’t want to risk (Instruction and General Funds) not be available for them,” he said.

Rush proposed to fund AISS at $5,000 for their one-time funding, a $5,000 decrease from their original request. He also motioned to give the center $4.16 per student for recurring costs. The funding is a $.21 per-student decrease from the requested amount, but it covered the staff salaries requested by the program. The motion passed.

Children’s Campus and Student Activities Center

Children’s Campus was a topic of much debate, though the group asked for the same amount of money that they received last year.

Holmen suggested they be granted the requested amount with the recommendation that the number of hours an individual can leave their child be decreased in order to increases the total number of people that can utilize the service. He also wants student enrollment to be a higher priority than that of staff and faculty.

“The priority is for students to be using this,” he said.

This year is the first time the Student Activities Center has put in a request for funding from the SFRB. They asked for a total of $27,163. Because of a strong direct link between the SAC and the student body, there was much support for funding them. However, because Debbie Morris is the President of the SAC and is planning to assist the SFRB in the future, the board anticipated a conflict of interests.

The board decided to pass a fund of $0 and to forward the request to the Strategic Budget Leadership Team for funding.

Andrew Cullen, a member of the SBLT, was hopeful about the SAC’s chances of getting funding through the SBLT, but recognized a potential argument against it.

“(They might say that) because the activities are for students, student fees should pay for the Student Activities Center,” Cullen said.

The SFRB will meet again on Saturday. Recommendations will be made final on Feb. 15, after they are sent to the SBLT.