Some leaders still confused over allocations

By Marissa Meredyth

Despite an informational session this past weekend on problems with allocation requests, the… Despite an informational session this past weekend on problems with allocation requests, the Student Government Board still dealt with confusion over the process from student leaders in last night’s meeting.

SGB has the power to allocate the Student Activities Fund — about $2.3 million — to certified student organizations. The fund is replenished by the $80 fee non-College of General Studies students pay each semester.

Because of recent confusion over the allocations process, SGB president Molly Stieber held Allocations 101 Saturday to provide insight into the logic behind the Board’s fiscal decisions and to alleviate the most common points of confusion surrounding requests.

In Nordy’s Place last night, Josh Jones, Panther Grappling Club president, stood before the Board clad in his organization’s T-shirt to hear the allocations verdict.

Jones explained in an e-mail before last night’s meeting that he has seen his organization’s members diminish by almost half since 2009. He said this was partly because the group did not have an instructor.

“We wanted $1,000 for an instructor for our club [last semester]. Unfortunately, last semester I could not get a hold of any instructor and our club lost interest in the eyes of students,” Jones said.

But when he came to the SGB meeting, Jones didn’t get what he wanted.

Allocations Chair Mike Bane read the committee’s recommendation — to deny $500 of Jones’ $1,000 request to bring an instructor to campus two days a week for 12 weeks.

Bane explained that the committee recommended only funding for the instructor to come once a week for 15 weeks.

“Precedent has been once a week for 15 weeks,” Bane said.

Bane added that twice a week instruction falls more in line with the definition of “coaching,” and SGB does not fund for coaches. The decision was a blow for Jones, who has been trying to increase interest in his organization.

Jones tried to appeal to the Board.

“People would show up at our practices asking, ‘Where is your instructor?’ I would never see that person again,” he said.

The Board directed questions back to Bane before unanimously approving the Allocations Committee’s recommendation to approve only half.

Stieber informed students about the importance of precedence during last week’s Allocations 101 meeting.

“We need to start getting back to guidelines. No one is entitled when they walk into the room,” Stieber said during Allocations 101.

After the Board voted, Board member Matthew Riehle continued the new practice of explaining the Board’s reasons for the vote on certain requests.

Jones expressed frustration after the vote.

“It’s a big blow. We are definitely going to have to try and come up with something,” Jones said.

“I will try and get someone to come once a week,” he said. “We might try other fundraising efforts, like selling T-shirts.”

Allocation Notes:

Ski Team requested $953.50 to attend a competition. The request was withdrawn when, for the second week in a row, no member showed up to speak on behalf of the request.

PantheRaas withdrew a request for $2,129.12 prior to the meeting. The group said it plans to modify the request and resubmit it.

Pitt Pendulums requested $1,673.67 to attend the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella. It was allotted $1,671.63 and denied $2.04 because of rounding.

Chinese American Student Association requested $974.63 to throw a Chinese New Year event on campus. The group received $939.64 and was denied $34.99.

College Republicans were allotted the $692 it requested to attend a political action conference.