A 20 percent cut in USG Projects Board funding has raised ire among USG members and ignited a debate on the disclosure of USG budgets.
While the USG senate approved the spring 1998 budget on Sunday night – including a $20,000 allotment for the Projects Board – USG members questioned the Projects Board funding prior to the budget vote.
Although USG treasurer Luis Guzman '99 said he based this semester's budget on last spring's, the spring '97 budget actually granted $25,000 to the Projects Board.
Guzman said this spring an additional $9,000 will be granted to the Projects Board at the end of the semester from the four classes, making the total funding $29,000. If necessary, reserve funds could also be utilized, he said.
Additionally, the Projects Board spent $30,209 last semester, according to Bianca Toness '99, the Projects Board Co-chair.
This $9,000 allotment is not a first. The Projects Board has received approximately the same amount at the end of every semester, including last spring.
Any remaining Projects Board funds will go into the USG account at the end of the semester, said former Projects Board chair Eckhart Richter '98, also the chair of the "International Consortium," a student group.
'Slashing of funds'
USG president David Ascher '99 said there are typically fewer requests from student groups in the spring, therefore the $5,000 decrease from the fall 1997 budget is justified.
Richter said he objects to the slashing of funds based on both of his positions.
"As a Projects Board chair, you make decisions under hard budget constraints," he added.
"Clearly as a student group leader I disagree because the amount of money going to student groups is being decreased," he added.
Student groups advocate Chi Soo Kim '99 said if the USG seeks to appear supportive of student groups, it should fund the Projects Board as much as possible at the beginning of the semester.
In an email to the USG yesterday morning Kim asserted that $26,000 was granted to the Projects Board last spring.
"I'm more concerned about two budgets floating around. There's no accountability in the student government," Kim said.
"The very fact that the remote possibility exists that the books were not kept correctly/honestly is frightening and discouraging," Kim wrote in the email.
Toness said regardless of possible reserve funds available to the Projects Board, she feels responsible to not spend more than the amount she was granted on Sunday night.
"Knowing that there is less money would definitely affect the decisions we make," she added.