A resolution to update the Wesleyan Student Assembly (WSA) Student Budget Committee (SBC) bylaws passed unanimously on Sunday, May 5. These changes include implementing slate budgets, clarifying identity month funding, and modifying the Spring Fling Committee (SFC) bylaws, among other changes.
Beginning in July of this year, qualified student groups may apply for a slate budget of up to $3000. Rather than having to apply for funding by laying out each expense for the SBC to review, these student groups can be allocated sums of money, slate budgets, to be used at that group’s discretion, provided expenditures are in line with SBC bylaws. The SBC hopes this will make the process of applying for funding less tedious for already well-established student groups. The SBC will review slate budget proposals between the July before an academic year up until the second SBC meeting of the spring semester.
To qualify for a slate budget, student groups must be in good standing with the SBC and the WSA Community Committee (CoCo), submit a proposal to the SBC based on funding data from at least the past three years, and have requested funding from the SBC for at least the past three years. SBC chair and primary sponsor of the resolution Alessio Larios ’19 noted that this three-year minimum requirement is to ensure student groups continue to have a strong presence on campus beyond one single leader.
“I’ve been on the committee for eight semesters now, and there are definitely many groups that have requested funding every single year, but there have also been a lot of groups that really just died out once the leader of the group graduated,” Larios said. “The thing about slate budgets is once you get one, it’s going to be easy for you to keep one….I think if you’ve established yourself as such an important part of the community that it doesn’t matter that one leader graduates…that shows that the group is such an important part of the community that they do need a slate budget.”
To submit a proposal for a slate budget, the incoming Financial Manager of a student group must meet with both the SBC and CoCo chairs. As both chairs were present at Pass the Torch Day on Friday, May 3, groups that attended who also meet the other requirements are eligible to submit proposals.
The SBC found that most groups did not request and spend over $3000, which is how they determined the cap. However, student groups whose slate budget proposals are approved are still able to request additional funding. At the end of the year, the SBC will review how student groups spent their slate budgets, and if a student group violated SBC bylaws, they will be unable to request a slate budget for the following academic year.
The bylaw updates also clarified that, while identity months will each be guaranteed $2000 of funding, this is not a definite cap on requests for identity month events. Even though this guarantee exists, requests must still be in line with SBC bylaws.
“Each identity month will be guaranteed $2000 of funding so long as that funding does not violate other SBC bylaws,” the new bylaw now reads. “The SBC is strongly inclined to provide additional funding beyond that amount. Requests should note if the event/activity will be an identity month program.”
The bylaw changes also raise the cap for funding for food with cultural significance, the only food the SBC funds, from $200 to $300.
The SFC composition and responsibilities were also clarified in the resolution. The SFC will be overseen by the SBC and the Director of the Office of Student Activities and Leadership Development (SALD), and the SFC Chair will have regular contact with the SALD Office and the SBC. The number of people on the committee will also be reduced from ten other committee members in addition to the chair to at least six.
Jocelyn Maeyama can be reached at email@example.com.