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The Daily Tar Heel

Money requests from student groups increase rapidly

Student Congress has seen about a 60 percent increase in student organizations applying for money — but it has not seen a corresponding increase in funds to give out.

Student Congress’ Finance Committee has already reviewed funding requests from 40 student organizations, and there are still more than 60 left to be considered. Last year, 63 organizations applied.

Brittany Best, chairwoman of the committee, said committee members have been working late hours to accommodate for the sharp increase in requests.

“It’s been an unusual second semester — with all budget cuts from departments and such, there’s a greater need for money all across the board,” she said.

Best said allocation of money depends on the nature of the request. More money is typically granted to host high-profile speakers, and the amount distributed also depends on how many groups are co-sponsoring the event.

Members of Carolina Review, a UNC conservative journal, expected to receive the $2,600 it had requested from the Finance Committee.

The full request was approved a month ago. But a week after it was approved, members received an email informing them that a portion of the money would be cut.

The Carolina Review lost more than $1,000 in the broad-based cuts, leaving them with $1,565.

“They weren’t keeping tabs on the money granted, so many organizations were hurt — the whole thing was quite unprofessional,” said Kelsey Rupp, Carolina Review editor-in-chief.

The journal wasn’t the only student organization to get some of its money rescinded.

But student organizations have the option to appeal the committee’s decision and petition in front of the full Student Congress for the original amount of money granted.

Carolina Quarterly, a literature review publication, petitioned after an email from the committee revealed a cut of almost $600. The organization appealed to the full Student Congress and recovered all of the money that had been cut.

Matthew Hotham, editor-in-chief of Carolina Quarterly, has been applying for money for three years. He said changes to the process have increased its accessibility.

The funding process previously required more foresight and advanced planning, he said, which deterred many organizations from applying.

“Even with all the transition occurring, I think that the Finance Committee is doing great job.”

Best said the committee realizes that sometimes its decisions might not be popular, but all the members are completely dedicated to the process.

“If I had my way, all groups would be funded 100 percent because so many clubs do great things — it’s tough, but we’re doing the best we can,” she said.

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