After a year in which Congress struggled with debt, representatives emphasized restraint in increasing the funds granted to student organizations.
"This is not the year we can afford to grow groups," said Mark Townsend, the chairman of the Finance Committee, in response to the Conference on Race, Class, Ethnicity and Gender's request for an escalation from its previous funds.
The Black Student Movement received the largest allocation -- $14,066 of the $21,233 the group requested, setting a precedent that sparked debate several times throughout the weekend.
Congress attempted to cut its appropriations by withholding money for speakers from organizations that did not have the specifics of their expenses written out.
"It was basically speakers that put us in the hole last year," said Speaker Alexandra Bell. "We decided that this year we will hit the speakers, because its such a wobbly expense."
A stricter policy on appropriating money for speakers prompted a decrease in funding for the conference. The organization received only $4,157 after requesting $10,231.92, a cut that prompted lengthy debate among representatives in light of the significant allocation to the BSM.
"The BSM got 25 times the printing and publicity funds as these guys," said representative Greg Wahl. "Since we are a University, academics hold a little more priority to me than parties or congratulations for finishing academic commitments."
But Student Body Treasurer Patrick Frye said the fiscal structure of the BSM, which serves as an umbrella organization, is an effective way to distribute student fees. "The great thing about groups like the BSM is that they keep costs more efficient for the smaller groups underneath them," he said.
But debate was not reserved for fund allocation. A rider to the budget prohibiting publications funded by student fees from being distributed through the mail provoked the most intense debate.