The Legislative Body (LB) convened via Zoom on Tuesday for a brief meeting to hear budget appeals from student orgs. The Financial Affairs Committee (FAC) introduced across-the-board cuts to student orgs at last week’s meeting in anticipation of a drop in total funds next year due to decreased enrollment in light of the coronavirus crisis. Only one org — Mac Swing — chose to appeal its proposed budget.
For only one org to appeal its budget recommendation is somewhat unusual.
“Historically… there have been more orgs appealing the recommendations,” FAC chair Ayushi Modi ’21 wrote in an email to The Mac Weekly. “I think this year was unique because orgs understood the extent of the cut and the reason behind the cuts that were made.”
Modi expects more orgs to apply for additional allocations next year, which they can do as expenses arise.
After the initial cuts, the FAC recommended allocating $2,772.60 to Mac Swing (about $1,900 less than it requested). The org appealed for an increase of $230 — enough to continue paying a professional swing dancing instructor to teach 25 classes a year. Mac Swing leader Elizabeth Landgren ’22 presented the org’s appeal.
“Our dance instructor is a full-time professional dance instructor who relies on having a steady income, and if we can’t confirm that we can pay him the amount that he needs for it to make financial sense to him, he may have to stop cooperating with us and teaching us,” Landgren said.
Modi reminded the LB that the budget only has room for a total of $708 for orgs to appeal — $208 was held for appeals after the initial budget cuts, and The Mac Weekly added $500 of its unused funds from this semester to that amount.
FAC member and Speaker for the LB Em Hayward ’21 recommended approving the org’s request.
“I think it’s only reasonable to pay an instructor an amount that is a consistent fee,” Hayward said.
Since no other orgs appealed their budgets, the LB voted immediately on Mac Swing’s appeal; it passed unanimously with all 21 attendees voting in favor.
Modi concluded the meeting with an update on the emergency fund bill, announcing that Program Board (PB) is contributing $35,000 to the Financial Aid office’s emergency aid program. This follows MCSG’s donation of $50,990 last week, which is aimed at helping mitigate any coronavirus-related emergency costs that students may be facing.
Student orgs, PB and MCSG can continue to contribute to this fund throughout the semester if they choose to, and the fund is open for students to request aid for unexpected emergency expenses.