Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
The Student Budget Committee (SBC) would like to take this opportunity to respond to the concerns recently voiced by members of various intercultural groups on campus concerning obstacles and frustrations these have experienced when seeking funding from the Student Budget Committee and/or one of its focused-funding subcommittees.
SBC was disheartened to learn of the disappointments various intercultural groups have experienced with regards to receiving funding for events on campus. We believe that the concerns raised by these groups are important and must be addressed. We are writing this letter with the hope of clarifying the misunderstandings that exist on campus regarding funding as well as with the expectation of soliciting further feedback that any individuals or groups present on campus wish to bring to our attention.
As many of you know, the primary responsibility of the Student Budget Committee is to allocate to student chartered groups the funds students contribute through the student activities fee (SAF), paid semiannually alongside with the general tuition and room and board payments. In order to allocate the student activities funds in the most efficient and effective manner, the Student Budget Committee has the right and power to create focused-funding committees, which receive a portion of the Student Activities Funds and are then responsible for allocating these monies to activities in areas that require specialized knowledge. As of May 1, 2007, SBC has four focused-funding committees: Drama Board (DB), Forum for Free Speech (FFS), Movie Committee (MC), and Social Affairs Committee (SAC).
These focused-funding committees operate independently of SBC, and are responsible primarily for allocating funds to groups and individuals in their respective areas of expertise. These committees are comprised of students only and the members of these committees are appointed by Student Council through the standard appointments process. No members of SBC or of the focused-funding committees have the ability to determine who is appointed to these committees by Student Council.
While the focused-funding committees operate independently of the Student Budget Committee, their decisions come under review of SBC whenever an appeal is filed by a student or organization who is dissatisfied with the funding decision made by any one of these committees. When these appeals are filed to SBC, SBC initiates a dialogue between the focused-funding committee and the appealing party, and based on the evidence and arguments presented by both parties, tries to reach a fair and equitable funding decision. If the appealing party remains dissatisfied with the decision made by SBC, it has the right to appeal to Student Council, who is the final arbiter of any SAF funding decisions.
The Student Budget Committee strongly encourages any students and student groups who are dissatisfied with funding decisions made by our focused-funding committees to appeal these decisions, first to the focused-funding committees themselves, and then, if necessary, to the Student Budget Committee. We believe that dialogue in those cases is imperative, and have always strived to facilitate it to the satisfaction of all parties involved.
Furthermore, we encourage any and all individuals to approach the Student Budget Committee in general, and the Student Budget Committee Manager in particular, with any concerns and thoughts regarding funding on campus. Both Student Council and the Student Budget Committee held a number of open forums this semester to receive informal feedback on obstacles and frustrations students experience when seeking funding from on-campus sources, and we hope to continue this tradition in future years.
Student Budget Committee Manager