A misstep in the budgeting process resulted in concern over Marshall University Student Government Association’s financial support of student organizations last semester, leaving most groups without funding.
Student organizations filed for monetary funding during the fall for travel and conference fees but a fault in staffing prohibited funding from being returned to groups.
According to SGA protocol, after students apply for the funding, SGA sent the reports to an employee in student affairs who is responsible for filing invoices and passing the financial requests to the state to be processed and sent to each organization.
The former employee responsible for acting as the middleman between SGA and the state resigned shortly after all funding requests were received.
Duncan Waugaman, student body president, said SGA administration had no knowledge of the employee’s intended departure or neglect of filing invoices.
“She let everything sit by the waysides unbeknownst to us because on our end, it is a waiting game,” Waugaman said. “We all sat back and waited for [funding] to come back from the state and then were hit in the face when we found out that it wasn’t cleared at the second mark.”
Waugaman said the inability of non-employees to finance the invoices was a further setback in the process.
Steve Hensley, dean of student affairs, said the loss of the administrative assistant greatly impacted the financial distribution process from all angles.
“It’s been a horrible mess,” Hensley said. “It’s tempting to look for an individual to blame, if there is anybody. I would take that blame.”
Hensley said the first priority of the new administrative assistant would be taking care of the delayed payments.
The new employee is scheduled to start working March 16.
“We lost our adviser,” Hensley said. “We lost our administrative assistant so until we can get them replaced we’re limping along. I am very disappointed in the things that have unfolded and the most disappointing thing is that I knew it was going to happen and I couldn’t make it any different.”
SGA’s total revenue is $68,436.13 for the last and current semester. The anticipated budget sponsoring student organizations for travel and conference fees totaled $29,500, and SGA delegated $26,144.16 for student organizations last semester alone.
Waugaman said SGA administration tried to quicken the process to support upcoming fees for organizations that received little to no funding outside of SGA.
“We try to give [smaller organizations] as much money as we can,” Waugaman said. “Not all groups are as financially sound as student government or a fraternity or sorority, and they all have just as important meetings so that’s why we’re really trying to get that money to them.”
One organization, the Marshall Student Association of Nutrition and Dietetics, uses its SGA funding to promote healthy eating on campus and to partner with local organizations such as the Ronald McDonald House and Burrito Riders.
Lindsey Deem, senior involved in the MUSAND, said her organization applied and received funding from the fall semester in November 2014 but has not received funding for the spring semester.
“We will have to start doing fundraisers,” Deem said. “We already do fundraisers in the [Memorial] Student Center, but we’ll have to work harder because we count on SGA funding.”
Deem said SGA administration has responded quickly to her concerns.
Waugaman said SGA contacted student organization representatives to familiarize them with the funding process and give updates on the location of their group’s funding.
“We are reaching out to different faculty members, learning how to make invoices and trying to find time in their schedules to let them help us,” Waugaman said. “Right now we want to make student groups aware of this because the money is important to them.”
Waugaman said funding would be fulfilled as soon as possible for groups who have not received support from the fall semester and those who suffered financial hits would be reimbursed.
Lexi Browning can be contacted at [email protected]