Thursday, April 9, Student Senate held their weekly meeting, speaking to a full room spilling out into the hallway. Along with regulars that typically attend the public meetings, many athletes were in attendance. Their goal was to get their voices heard by Student Senate regarding the recent cut to athletic funding on Student Senate’s end.
It has been 14 years since there has been a cut to athletics through the means of the money Student Senate provides to them. Off-the-top funding allotted by Student Senate gives Athletics 33 percent. This funding is provided by the Student Activity Fee (SAF) collected from all students.
With this cut, the Student Senate wants the university to make up the difference. “Student Senate has made the cut to Athletics with the intention of coming to an agreement with the university for more funding for them on their end to make up the difference in funding from the SAF,” Randi Chrismer, Student Senate President, said.
Also, the decrease in Student Activity Fee revenue influenced the cut in funding. “Every other SAF funded party has been feeling the cuts for years, but Athletics has, at least on Student Senate’s part, been left virtually untouched for the past 14 years,” Chrismer said.
The funding is estimated for the following year using projections based on enrollment. Enrollment is down, causing a decrease in funding across the board. This projection is not set in stone and enrollment can increase in the summer.
The cut has to be approved President Anderson in order to take place next semester. “As of now, Dr. Anderson has neither approved nor denied either the percentage cut to Athletics or the Club operational budgets for 2015-2016,” Chrismer said. Chrismer talked to Anderson on Wednesday. Also, she will be talking to Brian Hazlett, Vice President of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, and Dr. Anthony Grant, Interim Athletic Director for approval of the budget. Chrismer has recently requested to meet with the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).
“All Student Senate is trying to bring to the University’s attention is that it’s not really fair that the SAF makes up approximately 90 percent of the Athletic Allocated budget (approx. $690,000/ $740,000), especially since every student pays the same amount in SAF. If we go off of participation by individual student, Student Organization membership far outnumbers Athletic teams as they are only about 5 percent of the student enrollment count,” Chrismer said.