The SGA allocations process was long, tedious, and frustrating. If I was into metaphors, I would suggest that it was similar to having that one place on your back itch that you can’t scratch correctly regardless of any attempt.
It all began during the third week of the semester when, apparently, SGA allocation information was sent out to clubs and organizations. The new allocation process was advertised in an ad sent through Campus-Wide Email. There were, as of Sept. 24, 29 allocation forms submitted on time and two late applications. The next we, club leaders, heard from SGA was at the SGA meeting held in Hill 108 on the 29, where it was revealed that most of us had actually filed allocations incorrectly, asking for funding for decorations, publicity, and food, all of which SGA will no longer be funding. In essence, what SGA is willing to pay for are venues, venue use (which can include sound systems and such, although most of these can be attained free through McDaniel Radio), and speakers/performers.
However, SGA did not treat all groups fairly. In fact, several groups, like International Club, Women’s Issues Group, and Allies, did not hear back from SGA by the deadline by which we were supposed to have received our allocations.
Many of the requirements for funding were based on membership numbers, even several that were not explicitly stated. For example, requirements for coverage of travel expenses to a conference require more individuals than any smaller organization, such as those affiliated with the Office of Diversity & Multicultural Affairs (ODMA), has on a regular meeting basis in attendance. The solution suggested was collaboration. However, somehow, I don’t think that there is a purple unicorn of a speaker out there who will appeal to us all—it would be a woman, who is Black, Latin American, Asian, Jewish, lesbian, an immigrant, and a feminist. Let’s start counting our miracles now.
So, instead of stewing in our own disappointment, several of the club leaders of the ODMA groups met to discuss their issues with SGA and the allocations process on Oct. 21. Many of us gave props to SGA for even attempting to revamp the allocations process and stressing transparency in their decision-making. However, we were also very frustrated by the lack of funds our organizations received. For example, Black Student Union was denied thousands of dollars in funds.
What we came up with was a working list, not of grievances, but suggestions for the next round of allocations. These suggestions included not making us give annual projections (since we can’t possibly know what our members would like to do for the entire year), not making us give annual projections only three weeks into the semester, and oh, yeah, being a little more flexible and clear on the requirements for allocations in a more direct way than a campus-wide email. Furthermore, while we respect the SGA’s demands for contracts for speakers and performers, we wish they would understand that we can’t negotiate a contract if we don’t know how much money we are initially working with.
All of us severely hope that SGA and all our clubs will be able to reconcile our differences and work together. As the process improves, so will our organization leadership and presence on campus.