SGA allocates $369,642 for FY23: Organizations asked to make budget cuts for second year in a row

By Steven Bonini

News Editor

By Haley Hadge

News Editor

By Sophia Harris

Asst. News Editor 

SGA allocated a total of $369,642 in funding for organizations Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) budgets during its annual “Big Budget” meeting Feb. 11.

This allocated amount is down approximately 5.5% from the FY22 allocation of $391,275.15.

A total of $26,418 was left in unallocated funds.  

Each organization is separated into a group, making for a total of five groups.

Group One consists of four organizations, including The Gatepost, SGA, Framingham State Activities Board (FSAB), and WDJM Radio 91.3.

Group Two consists of seven organizations, including Afro-Caribbean Dance Group (ACDG), Black Student Union, Brother 2 Brother, Dance Club, The Hilltop Players, Motivation. Intersectionality. Solidarity. Sisterhood. (M.I.S.S.), and Ski & Snowboard Club.

Group Three consists of eight organizations, including Anime Club, ASL Club, Comic Book Club, Fashion Club, History Club, The Onyx, Outing Club, and Pride Alliance.

Group Four consists of 18 groups, including Active Minds, Aspiring Health Pros, Best Buddies, Christian Fellowship, Communications Club, English Club, Gaming Club, Glee Club, Green Initiative, iGNITE, Justice. Unity. Inclusion. Community. Equity. (J.U.I.C.E), Math Club, Nutrition Club, the Psychology Club, Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), Students of Caribbean Ancestry (SOCA), Student Vets, and Wildlife.

There are no organizations currently in the Group Five category, according to SGA President McKenzie Ward.

She said the organizations who will make up Group Five are created after the Big Budget meeting, but “any Group Five organizations that are created from now until next year’s Big Budget have the ability to move to Group Four.”      

Organizations in Group One met with SGA to present their requests and discuss changes to funding.

Ward said Group One organizations were asked to cut their budgets because the overall Student Activities Trust Fund (SATF) “was cut by around $52,000 this year due to low enrollment.”

This is the second year Group One organizations have been asked to cut from their budgets.    

Groups Two to Four did not meet with SGA to discuss budget requests at the meeting, but instead “met with SGA’s Finance Committee during the fall semester to talk about how they spent their money and present a budget for the remainder of the year,” said Ward.

Each organization in Group Two received an allocated flat rate of $13,500, making for a total of $94,500.

Each organization in Group Three received an allocated flat rate of $4,500, making for a total of $36,000.   

These groups can request money anytime after the start of the spring semester, according to Ward.  

Finally, each organization in Group Four received an allocated flat rate of $700, making for a total of $12,600.

Ward said Group Four and Group Five can request money at any time during the academic year.   

WDJM Radio 91.3 FM

WDJM’s request was presented by Treasurer Jack Mclaughlin.

In its revised budget, WDJM cut its “station events” category from $2,100 to $1,800, which was due to the removal of $100 for line item “food” and a $200 decrease in funding for line item “activities.”

Another revision in the WDJM budget was for its “promotional items” category. This category was decreased from $800 to $700 due to the cut of $100 from its funding for the line item “T-shirts.”

Mclaughlin said the station recently did an event on the station’s Instagram account for students to submit designs for new T-shirts to commemorate the birthday of WDJM. 

A revision was also made of WDJM’s budget in the category “licensing and memberships.” The budget increased from $1,665 to $1,705. There was a $30 increase in the line item “ASCAP” and a $10 increase in the line item “SESAC.”

Mclaughlin said the licensing and memberships to the streaming services are imperative to the operation of the station. 

WDJM increased their budget for “Station Administration” from $9,333 to $9,637.

He explained that payroll taxes decreased, but the station is due for an inspection that happens every few years.

He added WDJM needs engineering payroll “so we can have someone come in and make sure the station is running properly.”

A motion was made to allocate WDJM its full amount of funding for its revised FY23 budget of $13,842, including the expense of station events, promotional items, licensing and membership, and station administration. This is a 0.4% reduction from FY22. 

The motion passed 7-0 with no abstentions.

The Gatepost 

The Gatepost’s budget request was presented by Associate Editor Leighah Beausoleil and Editor-in-Chief Donald Halsing.

In its revised budget, The Gatepost cut from its “newspaper administration” category, going from a requested $20,754 to an allocated $20,250.

This is a decrease from The Gatepost’s FY22 allocation, for which it received $25,140. 

There are three line items in this category including, “printing,” “administrative assistant,” and “postage.”

The Gatepost requested $18,000 for “printing,” which was the same as its FY22 request, and $2,754 for an “administrative assistant.”

In FY22, The Gatepost requested $7,140 for an “administrative assistant,” $4,386 less than the year prior. 

The Gatepost has not received funding for “postage” since FY21 and did not request it this fiscal year.       

Senator Raffi Elkhoury asked Beausoleil and Halsing what the administrative assistant position is.

Beausoleil replied, “It could be a student, it could be a non-student, it could be grad student, it could be whomever. And they basically come in – they help us with admin tasks, which includes advertising, making the cold calls with different businesses to get ad revenue, and also setting up our conference.”

Halsing said the administrative assistant mainly deals with “advertising because we don’t have a lot of time to make phone calls and reach out to people in the community.

“It’s really important for us to have advertisements, especially with people outside of the University. That helps us build a stronger connection as a University, with the community in Framingham and beyond,” he added.

Diversity and Inclusion Officer Dara Barros recommended having a student take the position of an administrative assistant who may want to advance their knowledge in marketing, cold calling, and advertising, as opposed to hiring a professional.

“I just think it would be more beneficial in reaching out to students and recruiting students who would want to do that,” she said.

Elkhoury said he agreed with Barros, adding he wasn’t comfortable voting yes on the funding request as it stood.

Beausoleil said “ideally,” The Gatepost would like to have a student do it, but with low engagement and enrollment, “that hasn’t been the case.”

Sara Gallegos, advisor for SGA, recommended making the position a student assistant job, similar to Sam the Ram.

Beausoleil and Halsing agreed to make it a student assistant position, but Barros recommended making it a work study position.

Gallegos said, “You would put a certain amount towards a student assistant job, and then you would require work study to be in place. Most people’s work study will cover the first semester, and then you can cover the second semester with the line item that you provide.”

With the new revision to make the administrative assistant a work study and $504 subtracted from the initial request, SGA passed a motion in favor of the line item.   

In its “promotional items & recruitment events” line item, The Gatepost requested a total of $700 – $500 for promotional items and $200 for recruitment events.

This is a $100 increase from the FY22 budget.

The request went unchallenged and the full $700 was passed by SGA.

In its “licensing, memberships & awards” line-item, The Gatepost requested $1,657. This is a $57 increase from their FY22 allocation of $1,600.

Beausoleil said The Gatepost is developing a new website and that is the reason for the increase.

The full $1,657 was passed by SGA.

The Gatepost requested $3,640 for its “office supplies & equipment” line item, which is a $160 decrease from the allocated $3,800 for FY22.  

The only change to this line item was in the “printing and photocopying charges to The Gatepost account” category.  

The Gatepost previously received $700 in this category for FY22, but cut it in the FY23 request asking for $540.

The total request of $3,640 went unchallenged and was passed by SGA.

The Gatepost’s final line item was the “College Media Association Conference” line and it requested $8,428.  

Beausoleil said this line “pays for our trip to New York that happens in March around spring break,” adding, “We haven’t had this in a couple years because of COVID. But it allows four students and two advisors to take us to New York for a trip where we attend different workshops to learn more journalism skills.”

The request was passed by SGA.

A motion was taken to allocate a total of $34,675 to The Gatepost’s FY23 budget. 

This is a 11% reduction from FY22. 

The motion passed 5-0 with two abstentions. 

Framingham State Activities Board (FSAB)  

FSAB’s funding request was presented by President Annaliza Marzeotti, Off-Campus Coordinator Andrew Thompson, and Publicity Coordinator Tanisha Jean. They were accompanied by their Advisor Jorge Gonzalez. 

FSAB requested and was approved 5-0 with two abstentions $73,500 in funding in the “on-campus events” category.  

Within this category were four BINGO events which Marzeotti said are “highly attended [and] anticipated.”

They average 105 participants per each BINGO. These include the “Black and Gold BINGO” held for incoming students at the beginning of the fall semester, “BLINGO” as an end-of-the-year celebration, and two others that are held “sporadically” throughout the year, according to Marzeotti. 

She added these events have provided opportunities for general board members to “get their feet in the water” and learn event planning skills. 

FSAB reduced their request for “movie nights” by $1,000 due to the reduction in cost of their vendor and movie rights. 

“We’re sticking to more classic movies, which are cheaper,” said Marzeotti. She referenced this year’s homecoming – “‘Hocus Pocus’ was significantly cheaper” than “Avengers: Endgame.” 

Their request for their “Earth Day event” was reduced by $200 because they are able to obtain the materials needed at a lower cost, Marzeotti said. 

They are working to make them even more “home-grown,” she added.  

FSAB increased its funding request for their “awareness event” by $4,200. 

Marzeotti said they “want to make it more impactful.” With the added funds, they will invite more guest speakers to campus such as Monti Washington, who recently visited the University.      

“He was fantastic,” she said, “and we’d love to have more people like that come.”

They exceeded the budget for their “Sandbox” event last year due to money being shifted to compensate for COVID-19 safety restrictions, said Marzeotti. 

Additionally, she said they want to add food trucks to the event, which would cost approximately $3,000. This would cover 200 meals for students “free of change.” 

Thompson explained the club’s hope to shift their unallocated funds to specific events such as “Sandbox” and their “awareness event.” 

He said their goal is to avoid “pulling money from events that are already allocated funds and shorting them.”

Thompson discussed their “off-campus events.” They include trips to sports games, Canobie Lake Park, apple picking, and Spring Fling. 

“Spring Fling needs to be revamped,” he said. 

He added hotel and ticket prices are “on the uptick” and the organization will need to be covered for that inflation. 

Barros voiced concern regarding COVID-19 and student safety during overnight trips, when they would stay at hotels. She asked, “Have you considered switching over to day [trips] instead of overnight trips?”

Thompson said they did consider this, but decided to keep the overnight trips for students who have never had the experience. 

SGA motioned to approve an amount of $37,700 for off-campus events. 

Barros debated this motion. She said, “To stay in a hotel overnight – I just think that’s dangerous.”

Senator Emily Rosenberg suggested the funds could be used elsewhere if the pandemic prohibits them from staying at a hotel. 

Senator Elkhoury added this logic “extends” to the entirety of their funding, given the unpredictability of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

He asked, “Is it safe to have students going to a Red Sox game or Bruin’s game or anything like that?”

President Ward said SGA can always reallocate this money. “It’s not set in stone.

“We’ve seen other orgs do so if they have to, and if next year’s e-Board for FSAB decides to reallocate, it’s still money that’s being spent on students and it’s not going unused.” 

The motion passed 4-1 with two abstentions. 

Within line item “publicity and marketing,” Jean said the decrease in funding needed for “Info Tables” from $1,000 to $0 is because the funds have been reallocated to a “commuter info table.”

Since the organization has already purchased their rebranding material, they no longer need the $2,000 allocated in FY22. 

SGA motioned to approve an amount of $1,000 for “publicity and marketing” and it was approved 7-0. 

Within the line item “membership and development,” Thompson requested funding for “Engagement Day” and “promo items.” 

Barros asked what the difference between these events are, and why they aren’t under one line item. 

Marzeotti said the funding for “promo items” would be used year-round, whereas funding for “Engagement Day” materials are exclusive to the day itself. 

SGA motioned to approve an amount of $2,500 for “membership and development.”

This motion was debated.

Rosenberg said, as someone who has worked at Engagement Day in the past, she sees no need for $1,000. 

She added, “You just use the stuff that you have. … It doesn’t really take that much money to spend to promote yourself at the fair.” 

Barros said she agreed with Rosenberg’s statements. 

Barros added she has seen other campus organizations successfully promote themselves after receiving less money than FSAB. 

The initial motion was not passed and Vice President Emma Sullivan entertained a new motion. 

Senator Emma Laurie had motioned for the initial request to be voted on. However, following the debate, she said Rosenberg and Barros were “making some good points” that led her to abstain. 

Barros raised this as an issue because part of SGA bylaws state that the individual who motions for a vote to take place must vote in the affirmative.

According to Sullivan, “Abstentions can only happen if you’re a part of the organization, or if you don’t have enough information.” 

The original request of an amount of $2,500 was put into motion for a second time and passed 5-2. 

FSAB’s final request was for an amount of $5,300 for an annual conference their members attend called National Association for Campus Activities (NACA) . 

At the conference there are speakers, magicians, illusionists, slam poetry, and political activists. 

Additionally, by attending the conference they are “allowed access to [NACA’s] database,” according to Marzeotti. 

She added, “Everybody at the school is able to use this, not just us.”

SGA motioned to pass an amount of $5,300, which was approved 5-2. 

A motion was made to allocate FSAB’s full amount of funding for its revised FY23 budget of $120,000. This is a 4% reduction from FY22. 

The motion passed 5-2 with no abstentions. 

SGA

The SGA budget request was presented by President Ward and SATF Treasurer John Finkle.  

SGA’s total budget is broken down into five sub-budgets, including general, operations, training, benevolence, and banquet.

In its revised “general budget,” SGA made cuts to the line item “week of kindness” from $1,200 for FY22 to $1,000 for FY23.

Ward said they decreased the allocation for the “week of kindness.” 

She said this was because “SGA decided to cut back on the amount we do for it.”

In total, the “general budget” received a $200 decrease in funds, from $17,200 in FY22 to $17,000 in FY23.

SGA’s budget category  “operations,” previously “diversity,” was cut from $31,335 in FY22 down to $28,875 for FY23 making for a decrease of $2,480.

There was one main cut in the “operations” budget. The cut was made to the line item “RamLink.”

SGA was able to cut the “RamLink” budget because when Framingham State first obtained Presence to host RamLink, it was $10,000, but because this is the second year using the website, the price dropped to $7,800, Ward said.

In its revised “training budget,” SGA made cuts to line items “SGA retreat” and “SGA on-campus orientation.” 

The line item “SGA retreat” decreased to $2,000 for FY23 from the FY22 allocation of $5,000.

Ward said, “We felt like it was better just to have it [training] on campus and not have to spend money, because it really is an equity thing with how other organizations have to do their training on campus.”

She added, “So we felt making it more equal and fair for other organizations that SGA shouldn’t be somewhat favored when it comes to their training. So we decided to cut the budget for that as well.”

The line item “SGA on campus orientation” was decreased to $1,400 for FY23 from $1,700 in FY22.

In total, SGA’s “training budget” had a $3,300 decrease from its FY22 budget of $6,700.

SGA’s “benevolence budget” did not change from its FY22 allocation of $1,750. 

The SGA’s “banquet budget” received a $2,000 cut from its FY22 budget of $9,000.

This cut was made to the line item “SGA banquets.” 

Senator Laurie asked why Ward and Finkle decided to decrease the budget.

Ward said, “We decreased it to $7,000 just so that we can gradually decrease it to the exact money that we need for an on-campus banquet, like catering and everything. So we’re still trying to figure out banquet prices for this year.”

Finkle added this cut was made with the hope of holding “the banquet on campus.” 

A motion was made to allocate SGA its full funding request for its revised FY23 total budget with a $7,980 decrease from FY22 for a total allocation of $58,025. 

This is a 12% reduction from FY22.

The final motion passed 6-0 with one abstention.

[Editor’s Note: Leighah Beausoleil is Associate Editor of The Gatepost. Donald Halsing is Editor-in-Chief of The Gatepost. McKenzie Ward is Opinions Editor for The Gatepost. Emily Rosenberg is an Arts and Features Editor for The Gatepost. Jack Mclaughlin is a staff writer for The Gatepost.]