At this time last year, members of Pomona’s Model United Nations (MUN) were preparing for their conference at McGill University in Montreal with some of the biggest universities in North America.This year, however, the club will not be attending the conference. The club will also miss the MUN conference in New York, as well as the one in Berkeley, where they won the Golden Bear award last year.After the blow to Pomona’s endowment caused by the economic downturn last year, many of Pomona’s clubs received large budget cuts. MUN, which received all of its funding through the school last year, received one of the biggest cuts to their budget. This year, the club has received $4,500 from the school; last year, it received $35,000—a cut of 87 percent.The MUN head delegate Will Heidlage PO ’12 explained that the club has had to make serious concessions because of these losses.First, they had to apply for ASPC funding for the first time. The club has asked for $6,000 from ASPC, though Heidlage doubts they will receive the full amount.The club also had to find a number of smaller local conferences to go to, including conferences in Las Vegas and Long Beach, and at UCLA. Although these conferences are significantly less expensive than the ones the club attended last year, the students on MUN will still have to pay up to $300 for transportation and food, all of which was covered by the school in previous years.On top of the financial burden, Heidlage said that these changes also cause some emotional stress, which may negatively affect the quality of the club’s performance at these conferences.“We’re going to be a lot more tired because we’re going to be driving there; we’re not going to have nearly as much time to prepare because we’ll be getting there much later at night,” Heidlage said. “So competitively, we’re at a severe disadvantage to larger schools with larger budgets.”MUN is not the only group to receive budget cuts this year. Although ASPC’s budget is essentially the same because they receive their money through student fees, they have allocated money to clubs in a more conservative manner this year.Additionally, many clubs like MUN receive some or all of their money through the business office and have seen large cuts from that source.
The Student Life
has also lost a substantial amount of funding this year.
Cosimo Thawley PO ’11, the business manager for the paper, said
’s budget is down by about $9,000 this year—a cut of 16 percent. Approximately $8,000 of this cut comes from the funding
receives from the business office, which is the money the paper uses to pay its staff.Not surprisingly, this cut has resulted in wage cuts for
writers and staff.“We’ve had to cut hours, cut the amount of weeks people are paid…and restructure positions and pay in general,” Thawley said.Some employees are working for no pay because of restrictions to their personal allotments, he added. Students who do not receive financial aid are restricted to $1,000 allotments, and students who earn money at multiple jobs may use up their allotment on one job alone.The other $1,000 cut is from the money allotted to the paper by ASPC, which totals $20,000 this year.This money, Thawley explains, constitutes
’s operating budget, which pays for printing and other essentials that go into making the paper.This budget, Thawley notes, is exceeded almost every semester by
.“The main problem is the student wage allotment funded by the Office of Financial Aid,” Thawley said. “We will exceed the allotted amount by a significant margin.”Other clubs also feel that the cuts they received to their budget have negatively affected their work this year.Women’s Union co-facilitator Samantha Jones PO ’10 said that the WU has been dealing with budget cuts since last year.“Fall of 2008, we had a staff of 24 people. In the spring of 2009, we dropped down to 17, and now, this semester, we have 14,” Jones said.The WU has also become stricter about how many hours each employee can work, Jones explained. This means many employees are either working without pay or simply working less.The biggest downside to this decrease in hours, Jones said, has been a drop in the number of events the WU puts on.“In the past, each staff member had to put on their own individual project, but now we just don’t have the funds to give money to every staff member for this…so sometimes someone’s project might get lost in the mix.”However, there is an upside to this limitation. Jones said that the WU has begun working more with other groups to put on events on campus.
“It’s kind of been a blessing in disguise,” Jones said. “Now, we’re a lot more community-focused and putting on more community-based events.”
Still, Jones feels that the drop in funds has hurt the organization.“Thus far in the semester, I’d definitely say that we’re less active and less productive and less of a presence on campus than we had been in previous semesters,” said Jones. “I would say that definitely has something to do with the budget.”