Student Governments Hold Budget Hearings

The past week and a half has been filled with budget hearings and committee meetings for the five student governments of the Claremont Colleges. Dozens of student groups and organizations presented at 5C budget hearings or in front of school-specific student governments to receive funding for event planning, printing, and tournament registration costs, among other expenses. 

With an increasing number of clubs created each year, demand for funding has also increased. Ellie Ash-Balá, associate director of the Smith Campus Center and adviser to the Associated Students of Pomona College (ASPC), has witnessed the growing demand for funding. 

“When I started at Pomona 7 years ago, there were fewer student organizations, now there are almost 200 5C organizations,” Ash-Balá wrote in an email to TSL.

A variety of new clubs have been created, including new publications, sports groups, and organizations that revolve around political and social causes.

“There isn’t really a process for removing clubs currently (other than not coming to budget hearings for three years), so they tend to be made at a higher rate than they are removed,” wrote Alex Samuels PO ’15, ASPC vice president of finance for the 2014-2015 school year. 

The exact number of new clubs is difficult to determine, according to Ash-Balá.

“There were probably 10-ish brand new clubs that asked for funding and another 10ish clubs that started up during this year and therefore this was their first time as a club at the 5C Budget Hearings,” she wrote.

Michelle Guan, Scripps Associated Students (SAS) co-treasurer, wrote that the demand for increased funding is not due to a greater number of clubs, however.

“Generally, budget requests tend to increase from year to year because of rising cost of living and inflation,” Guan wrote in an email to TSL. “There hasn’t been a dramatic increase in demand for funds.”

Historically, ASPC has allocated between $60,000 and $75,000 to 5C student clubs out of student fees that Pomona students pay each year. Samuels wrote that he expects funding for student organizations to increase this year in part because Metate, the yearbook, will no longer be included in the budget. 

Funding for Metate was cut in fall 2012. However, ASPC continued to run a deficit under the current budget cycle.

“One of the biggest sources of funding is the cutting of the Metate, which was an expense of over 15k,” Samuels wrote. “This is the first year we’ve run a budget without including it, so that left a large pot of money that we could use for other things.”

Scripps College allocates more than 12 percent of the SAS budget to 5C clubs and organizations, Guan wrote.

“Funding allocation just depends on which Clorgs [clubs and organizations] request money from the student government,” Guan wrote. “To my knowledge, there hasn’t been a dramatic trend or shift in allocation.”

Funding from student governments is spread between organizations, businesses such as the Motley Coffeehouse and the Coop Fountain, and media such as KSPC.

“We try to portion out our funds as fairly as we can, but it’s always difficult to strike a balance between ‘this club needs X amount to run’ and ‘we have to give money to other clubs too,’” Samuels wrote.

5C clubs will learn their allocation amounts for the 2014-2015 school year once all 5C student governments have established their budgets. 

The Associated Students of Claremont McKenna College, Associated Students of Harvey Mudd College, and Pitzer Student Senate were not reached for comment.

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