The Colorado College Government Association is now rolling in the deep — or at least as deep as they have been in recent memory.
Roughly $400,000 was missing from the student activities’ $820,000 budget for several weeks earlier this year. Now accounted for, CCSGA is working to honor debts, boost student activities, and fund more events than ever before.
The student activities budget comes from the mandatory $205 every student pays at the beginning of each semester. The budget provides money for dances, club sports, and buses to hockey games, along with 14 other expenses.
Last year, CCSGA’s financial vice president, Stanley Sigalov `13, proposed that the college’s tuition budget absorb a few of the student activities budget’s responsibilities. Sigalov’s proposal called for the operating budget to cover campus activities, living learning communities, and alcohol education — three expenses totaling around $240,000.
The budget committee, made up of five faculty, five staff, and two students, agreed to cover a portion of Stanley’s proposal in the sum of $115,000. The committee proposed this idea to the board of trustees in a meeting on Feb. 12, 2013.
The meeting minutes from that summit indicates that the committee recommended that the college provide “financial support for a portion of the staffing costs that are currently paid by the mandatory student fee.” Those costs total about $115,000.
Nine months later, in a budget meeting on Oct. 30, Alejandro Salazar, CCSGA’s current vice president of finance, and Robert Moore, the college’s vice president for finance and administration, looked at a breakdown of the student budget Dean Mike Edmonds presented, which totaled around $416,000, leaving half of the student activities budget unaccounted for.
“I don’t know how the administration didn’t notice,” said Salazar.
Salazar had gone to Edmonds a few weeks earlier asking for a breakdown of the budget. Edmonds told Salazar that he had asked the business office for the same thing two weeks ago and was still awaiting a response.
“I did find it weird that we had to go digging for these numbers,” Salazar said. “Even my contact in the business office had a version [of the budget] that was two years old.”
“We kind of adjourned the meeting not knowing where the money was,” Salazar said. “Robert [Moore] was like, ‘go find it.’”
Alejandro went to Enid Ruiz Mattei, a senior budget analyst at the college, who told him “she knew where it was, but didn’t tell [him] that day.”
However, Moore found the budget breakdown on Nov. 4 and realized they had “another $171 thousand” that had yet to be allocated.
The missing $400 thousand from the budget wasn’t exactly “missing”; Sigalov’s proposal had been approved, but no one had been informed.
“Maybe he forgot to tell me,” said Salazar, “but it was a pleasant surprise” when I found out where it was.
“I remember the proposal and I remember the verdict on the Finance Committee’s part, but I can’t tell with conviction that I relayed the information to Alejandro [Salazar] or Isaac [Greene – CCSGA president],” said Sigalov.
The funds had been reallocated without anyone finding out.
The $400 thousand that had been allocated without anyone knowing was divided in several parts: $64 thousand for Cutler Publications (The Catalyst, The Leviathan, The Cipher), $102 thousand for campus activities, and $65 thousand for CCSGA. These four figures haven’t changed in the last four years. This budget left $171 thousand to be reallocated by Salazar and the finance committee.
Where the money is going
Cutler Publications has been in debt for the last eight years. At the beginning of each year, Cutler typically receives $64 thousand. Salazar’s changes will now ensure that the student activities fee contributes another $46 thousand to Cutler, totaling $110 thousand when combined with what the group receives automatically each year from the college’s operating budget, taking effect immediately.
– Another $5,000 more will be given to club sports.
– The budget for hockey buses will receive an additional $6,000.
– The Collaborative for Community Engagement’s budget will increase from $8,400 to $10,000.
“Then for next year, there’s an adjusted allocation,” said Salazar.
CCSGA will use part of the remaining sum — $30,000 — for a new policy designed to spark initiatives. CCSGA president Isaac Green will receive $10,000 in discretionary funds to be allocated as he sees fit.
Each CCSGA executive vice president will be given $5,000 to use at his or her discretion.
Salazar plans to use his money to bring more “nightly events back to campus like bands, DJs,” he says.
The remaining money that wasn’t allocated will be going to “special events funding,” says Salazar.
Brian LeMeur, Staff Writer