Graphic by Griffin Mancuso

Associated Students cuts $500,000 out of student programs


by Angel Barker

Faced with a deficit of more than $500,000, the Associated Students (A.S.) met Friday to make huge cuts to student programs. The Womxn’s Resource Center saw a large cut of $25,850, Diverse Male Scholar Initiative was reduced by $29,340 and Recreational Sports Clubs were cut by 50%, now left with $15,000. Those were three of the over 20 funded program cuts that were approved.

It was a misty Friday morning in Arcata, specifically in Gist Hall room 218, where fewer than 20 people met in person to discuss the budget reform for funded student groups on campus. The meeting was called to session at 10:03am. Tensions were high and budget cuts were higher.

A $500,000 deficit heightened the tensions between A.S. and core funded student groups on campus. With thousands lower in enrollment numbers than originally projected by the university, it has left a sour taste in the mouths of everyone whose budget was about to be cut by thousands of dollars.

Associated Students Administrative Vice President (AVP) Andres Olmos facilitated the discussion for the necessary cuts of the budget. He stated that because of lack of funds, they are essentially starting from the ground up with the bare minimum of only wages for student workers, which would still leave them over budget. The revenue is much less than predicted in the spring due to the high enrollment projections made by the university.

Olmos acknowledged that it was important to A.S. that student workers were able to keep their jobs, and that the main priority was keeping each budget at least at their current wages only so students could continue to survive.

The approved 2023-2024 funded student programs budget sat at $1,278,717, and because of the lack of funding they needed to get to $750,000. Over 20 student groups like cultural centers, service organizations, and more, saw cuts that ranged anywhere from $2,500 to $186,498. Some individual budgets were getting cut entirely because they have trust funds that they can survive on for the year; others were biting their nails to try and get more than just enough to pay student workers.

The original revenue number was $786,000. Using A.S. reserve funds the number would have been $865,000. The financial office told A.S. to get to $750,000, meaning the total number of funds cut were $528,717.

The Eric Rofes Queer Multicultural Resource Center (ERC) approved budget for the 2023-2024 school year was $42,500 and was reduced today to $30,000 after exchanges between Ascher Marks, the fiscal director for the ERC and AVP Olmos.

“We still need to work over the winter and spring break,” Marks said over Zoom.

“Like I have stated to other organizations,” Olmos said, “you guys might have to reconsider working through winter break and summer break, so I apologize for that.” 

“We cannot really consider that because our bills don’t stop during winter and summer break,” Marks responded. “We need to be working over the breaks because this is our job and how we make money.” In the end, the ERC’s budget was reduced by $12,500.

Some organizations still have enough to sustain for the year, like the Waste Reduction Resource Awareness Program (WRAPP). The Program was cut by $9,200 leaving them below the A.S. recommendation of only wages, yet they remain optimistic.

“We are so excited to have $44,000,” Ella Moore, Rose Co-Director said. “It means we are going to be able to pay our employees and [have] a little wiggle room for basic operations.”

A more in depth story will be printed this week on Wednesday, October 4.

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