Student leaders are warning UNC's various organizations to complete requests for money from student fees soon before limited funds are depleted.
Student Body President Brad Matthews said it is crucial that student groups make budget requests as soon as possible. "Do it sooner than later," he said. "We can't consider a request until somebody makes it."
Student activities fees make up all funds Student Congress can distribute to organizations. Although Congress only has about $12,000 for allotment, it receives about $10,000 in requests at each Student Congress Finance Committee meeting, Matthews said.
"There's more requests for money this year, but there's just not enough money to service all the requests," Matthews said. He urged groups to submit their requests before Congress runs out of money.
Finance Committee Chairman Mark Townsend said the amount of money allocated to organizations depends on the group and how it plans to spend the money. "Anything that will enhance the intellectual climate (at UNC) is top priority," Townsend said.
Providing money for an organization's phone bills, mail or guest speakers are high priorities because they are essential to maintaining intellectual activity on campus, Townsend said.
Certain requests, such as money to send students off campus, are not major considerations, he said.
But it is possible for organizations to receive funding for off-campus activities, he said. Carolina Academic Team, National Society of Black Engineers and United Nations Organization have all recently received funding for off-campus conferences.
Bharath Parthasarathy, former representative of District 16, said Student Body Treasurer Patrick Frye is holding on-campus organizations to a higher standard than necessary.
Title II, Part II, Article III, Section 521 F. of the Student Code of Conduct defines the priorities for funding and states that a group's programs created outside the University need a two-thirds majority approval of Congress for funding.
Parthasarathy said groups such as CAT can only prosper through off-campus activities, even though they are based on campus. For Frye to have these groups' funding approved by two-thirds is unreasonable, and a misinterpretation of the code, Parthasarathy said.
Frye denied misinterpreting that section of the code, and said that it explicitly explains what types of programs are considered priorities. He said sending these groups to off-campus events adds prestige to UNC's reputation. But he added that he doesn't see any benefit.
Whether the group is on campus or not, its budget requests go through a lengthy process for evaluation, Townsend said.
Townsend writes each request into a bill, which then travels through the Finance Committee and is amended if necessary. Organizations receive money if the bill is approved by Congress. The Finance Committee meets every other Tuesday, and organizations must complete their applications by 5 p.m. the Friday before each meeting. The next committee meeting is scheduled for Tuesday.
Despite budget constraints, Students for Economic Justice member Todd Pugatch said the first come, first serve funding process is fair. "I think since they have a small amount of money to give, it makes sense to do it the way they are."
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