Over the past two issues of THE HOYA, there has been a lot of talk about the reserve accounts of the five advisory boards to the Vice President of Student Affairs (“800,000 in Club Funds Unspent,” THE HOYA, April 4, 2008, A1; “Dollars Should Bring Change,”SAC’s Folly Continues to Confound,” THE HOYA, April 8, 2008, A2). First off, we would like to dispel the postulate that these funds are reserved simply “for a rainy day.” That component of the reserve account cannot be denied; SAC takes on the totality of the risk of all its events including ones that cost in the tens of thousands of dollars.

If the largest events on campus, i.e. Rangila, the Merrick Debate, Bayanihan, or Spring Concert, were to flop (even through no fault of the groups hosting them), SAC would have to back up the costs associated without the profit coming in. For instance, Asiafest last year was unfortunately on the same weekend as the Final Four and lost a significant amount of money which had to be financed by SAC. So the $240,000 which many have called a preposterous amount is only, in fact, double what SAC needs to back up its “rainy days.” This money is necessary in case there is a cataclysmic event that affects a large portion of student organizations’ events without the possibility to cover any of those losses. If you care to disagree with us, we would empower you to look through SAC’s financial records, which have always been freely available, to suggest a better number instead of the wild assumptions that have been typed on THE HOYA’s discussion pages.

To reiterate, however, we do take issue with calling the reserve accounts simply an emergency stockpile of money. In the past the reserve funds have gone towards capital improvements for the groups under SAC, and we hope to do the same this year. We plan to utilize the money that we’ve kept, through financially sound practices (aside from the “rainy day” amount) to remodel the office spaces for our student organizations. That Rachel Cohen (COL ’09) implies that we aren’t using a penny of this money towards our own offices offends us as students who volunteer a significant amount of our time for the benefit of student groups on campus.

“Dollars Should Bring Change” brings about the tired mantra of THE HOYA Editorial Board: “Give all the money to GUSA!” they cry (pardon the hyperbole). The money in the SAC reserve account was allocated to SAC and that money will be used towards SAC’s purpose: student organizations on campus. That the Editorial Board implies that our money should go directly to the Student Association’s initiatives is completely outside of the mission of SAC and will not benefit our student groups. The use that the Editorial Board suggests is what would really be a misuse of SAC’s responsibility.

Another large issue proclaimed in this debate is SAC’s “unwillingness” to part with its money and the great need of student groups for more funding. SAC is allocated a budget at the beginning of each year and as an organization of students (not administrators as THE HOYA Editorial Board seems eager to say) decides how that money best goes to all our student organizations. As of our last meeting, SAC is $40,000 in the red because of the amount that we’ve given to our student groups this year.

And for the College Democrats, they have been approved for every event that they’ve presented to SAC, a whopping total of 24, more than any other group on campus. Of those events, only a single one was not approved as initially requested. And as they’ve presented six more events this year than last, it seems to cast Cohen’s claims that we are “strangling student life on campus” into question. For a group whose president thinks that they get the funding they need (see “800,000 in Club Funds Unspent”, some people sure have a lot of unresolved issues. Groups are denied funds when an event proposal is incomprehensible or against the mission of the group, never based on the amount of funding.

As with any student group, there are problems that SAC faces and that should be addressed. We would encourage Cohen, and any others intimate with the process, to talk to their SAC Commissioner about any constructive changes that you would like to see made to the process. All emails to sacgeorgetown.edu will be read and taken with serious consideration.

ark Russo is a senior in the College, a SAC Commissioner and Vice Chair Emeritus of SAC. Sophia Behnia is a junior in the College, a SAC Commissioner and Chair of SAC. Alex Daubert is a junior in the School of Nursing and Health Studies, a SAC Commissioner and Vice Chair of SAC.

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Comments are closed.