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SAFB to Meet to Vote on Controversial CCSG Budget

The day of reckoning is here for the Council of Commonwealth Student Governments, as the Student Activity Fee Board will meet at 3:30 p.m. in 111 HUB to discuss CCSG’s budget proposal that would allocate the student government $14,800 from the University Park student activity fee.

The request has not been met without controversy and criticism. CCSG, while based at University Park, does not claim nor is recognized to represent University Park students, rather, students at all of the branch campuses other than University Park. It seems trivial to many, then, how the group can justify receiving student activity fee money from the pot that all University Park students pay into.

The budget request is three-pronged, and requests a total of $46,950 — $20,500 from the branch campus student activity fee, $11,650 from central administration (in other words, the student affairs office), and of course the much maligned $14,800 from University Park students.

The line item justification for the University Park funding is even more troubling, with most of the funding being used for retreats and other directives that don’t directly benefit students.

For instance:

  • $3,500 for a fall retreat for the staff at University Park to form “positive relationships along with friendships.”
  • $2,500 for a mid-year retreat — again only for the staff at University Park.
  • $3,500 to attend a summer leadership conference to enhance the “leadership, citizenship and networking skills” of CCSG members.
  • $800 for office supplies.
  • $3,000 for a discretionary fund, which will be used for “central team building activities to help all of central staff build friendships and work effectively and efficiently together.”
  • $1,500 to promote Capital Day (finally, a non personal gain expenditure)

If you thought UPUA wasted money, just check out that show-cause. Granted, CCSG’s funding is a bit of a quandary — the organization in a tough position with its budget and how it receives money. Currently, CCSG receives its entire budget from the student affairs central staff budget (i.e. Damon Sims writes a check) although the student activity fee handbook stipulates that it receives a percentage of all branch campus student activity fees. This policy has not been enforced, however, so CCSG is quite understandably in a tough position.

However, requesting $14,800 from University Park students to go on retreats doesn’t look good in any circumstance. The Student Activity Fee Board is set to vote on this proposal today, which should be heavily contested.

“We’re going to be voting against anything that requests money from University Park,” said UPUA Chairman Spencer Malloy, who has a SAFB vote, at the last meeting. Unfortunately for Malloy and the University Park interests, the 13-member Student Activity Fee Board is largely dominated by Commonwealth Campus interests, with seven members having a direct interest in the branch campuses.

It will be an uphill battle for Malloy and UPUA President Courtney Lennartz for sure, but we’ll see how it all plays out at 3:30 in 111 HUB.

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About the Author

Greg Schlosser

Greg is a senior majoring in energy engineering at Penn State. He is a big fan of Pittsburgh sports and sandwiches with coleslaw and french fries. You can email him at [email protected] or find him at the Phyrst drunkenly requesting the band to play "One Headlight."

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