SBA Announces Policy Changes in Funding at Student Leaders Meeting
At the last student leaders meeting of the year this past April 24, outgoing SBA President Chris Rodriguez announced that unused student group funds will now roll over to the larger SBA budget from year to year.
Until the change, finalized last week, all unused SBA funding was returned to the greater Fordham University account and would have to be reallocated to the law school, and then the SBA, at the beginning of the next year. The SBA budget for the past three years has been $160,000. Next year, that budget could be cut by as much as 30 percent.
“We don’t know how much the cuts are going to be,” said Rodriguez. “It’s tough to tell how much will roll over because groups are still submitting budgets.”
Rodriguez said he expects the change will allow about $20,000 to roll back into the budget, which will buffer the impact that cuts will have on student groups.
While unused funds will now return to the SBA account, they will not be returned to individual groups. Instead, the SBA will review each group’s spending habits over the past several years, taking into account factors such as changes in board membership, and will allot funding based on past use. The exception will be money the groups fundraised individually, which will be returned to the group’s account if left unspent.
The new rules could allow student groups to fundraise over the summer in coming years, but the current rules that forbid summer fundraising will remain in effect this year.
During the meeting, Dean Michael Martin also welcomed the new SBA representatives and met Amanda Yu, the incoming President, for the first time.
“We look forward to working with you and supporting you however we can. It’s a big school and there are always going to be bumps in the road, but hopefully they’ll be small,” he said.
After introductions, Martin fielded questions from Rodriguez about student concerns raised during the current SBA elections and throughout the year, such as space in the new building and exam conflict policies.
Martin said the exam conflict policy is a faculty committee decision and that he would relay the interest in expanding the conflict policy from 16 to 24 hours, but added that it is increasingly difficult to avoid all 24-hour conflicts.
“Particularly for fall exams it is exceedingly difficult to stretch them out very far because the exam period is quite short and we have a lot of exams to get through,” Martin said.
Martin also explained that space will be tighter in the new building than originally expected, because the Law School will no longer be housing any Fordham Law programs at 33 West 60th Street. This includes clinics, centers, and two journals that were slated to share the currently leased property.
“Journal space was planned before the building got started, we’ve had to make some changes, which I would say on balance are improvements,” he said. “All of the journals are now going to be in the new building.”
Additionally, the library will begin moving its 95,000 volumes over to the new law library next summer and student groups and journals will be doing the same. The old library will be available for use, though most of the books will be transferred to the Quinn Library in Lowenstein. The new library will hold the minimum number of written materials for accreditation and will have nearly 300 more seats for students.
Additional announcements included the creation of a law school specific intranet similar to my.fordham that should be ready by the 2015, that Westlaw will end free printing on June 30th, and that paper towels will be coming back to the bathrooms in the new building.
–David Harvey, Editor in Chief