During a virtual Zoom meeting Wednesday with three different sessions, the Plattsburgh State Student Association’s executive council and senate discussed many budget issues for the future of PSU as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
For the joint session, Vice President of Finance Ha Nguyen gave a presentation on the SA budget for the 2020-2021 academic year. Ngyuen said the SA fee of $105 per student has been approved for the fall semester.
However, due to a projected enrollment decline of fewer than 5,000 students, according to a report from the Office of Institutional Effectiveness, and due to the pandemic, the SA is considering and may be required to make more budget cuts, worrying the fall semester might be conducted virtually as well. These budget cuts would be made from the stipend model that had been approved for SA officers.
“Any excess revenue from the $105 fee collected from students would go to the Additional Allocations budget,” said Cori Jackson, director of the Center for Student Involvement. “This way, the money would come back to the student body and be of advantage to them.”
Currently, the SA is facing four main issues, which have resulted in the 10% budget cuts. Aside from the declining enrollment, minimum wage has been rising, and SA officers need to be paid as well. There are also new College Auxiliary Services administrative costs.
Previously, CAS conducted a lot of bookkeeping services for the SA for no specific cost, but now they have asked to be paid as well. A new executive director needs to be hired as well, whose salary and benefits will be coming from the SA budget.
Executive Vice President Jennifer Stanton expressed concern about SA clubs excess funds.
“Any excess money in the SA budget usually goes to reserves and can’t be accessed for two years,” Stanton said.
Nguyen then mentioned that clubs don’t have any reserves, so the excess funds are redirected to the SA budget. She also mentioned clubs may have had some extra revenue due to conducting ticketing events. The Activity Board can also have revenue from conducting trips and other ticketed events.
Stanton brought up the fact that the fall 2020 Additional Allocation budget was now $48,000, which is higher than the usual $30,000 budget. Nguyen said this was still being discussed, and there wasn’t a final decision on this yet.
Jacob Avery, assistant director of Center for Student Involvement, talked about how there might not be any on-campus activities during the fall semester.
“We need to start discussing how to compensate students, in case this happens,” he said.
SA President Rudaba Ahmed also brought up the fact that SA elections are held in the fall semester, and they needed to discuss how elections would be conducted in the event the fall semester is also held online.
The SA is also uncertain on how to proceed further as things are changing every day. However, it is planning on moving forward while keeping the best interest of students in mind.
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