In the 26th session of the 36th Student Senate, several student organizations received funding from the Activities and Services budget and others voiced their concerns for changes to be made to the budget.
Tallie Benson, 22, a senior music education student from Atlanta, approached the Senate to ask for funding for the Strikers because the dance troupe went from $10,000 to zero funding this year. Benson said he felt the Strikers were a recruitment tool for the University.
“Overall, all organizations, with so many negative things going on with the University, it shows some light of positivity of FAMU,” Benson said. “All these things affect recruitment and retention.”
Benson also addressed the Senate to dispel allegations of the Strikers using A&S funds for their performance. He was upset the Senate gave the group no money but constantly questioned the Strikers about their funding.
“Zero funding organizations is really the easy way out other than sitting down making sure those organizations are doing the right thing with the money,” Benson said. “It upsets me and our organization to be audited several times, yet there are always allegations of what happened to the money.”
Robert Little, president of the Strikers, also attended the meeting on behalf of the organization and attempted to dispel the accusations of it improperly using A&S funds.
“We wanted the public to hear our side,” said Little, 21, a junior business education student from Atlanta. “Even though they might not have said, ‘FAMU Strikers are using A&S fees,’ we were accused. There’s no way we could misuse our A&S account because every time a transaction is made, it must be approved.”
Sen. Candice Pelham, A&S budget chairwoman, said the situation was a result of miscommunication.
Because of decreased enrollment, there was an estimated lower percentage of A&S fees so some organizations’ budgets were cut, while others received no funding.
The organizations that received zero funding or a decrease in funds have an opportunity to request additional funds from money set aside by the Senate.
David Smith, a member of the FAMU Concert Choir, said he was optimistic about the amount of funding the choir might receive.
“The amount of money they cut us is not even enough to do half the stuff we do in a year,” said Smith, 21, a junior music performance student from Sanford.
Members of the Presidential Ambassadors also requested more financial support from the Senate.
Jacquelyn Rivers, 22, said if they are representing the school, there should be no reason for them to be sharing polo shirts.
“If there is an organization on campus representing you, you want them to (fully) represent you,” said Rivers, a senior business administration and Spanish language student from Chicago. “As an A&S-funded organization in a school, I don’t understand why we have to beg and plead for funds.”
Andrew Collins spoke on behalf of the NAACP to make sure they get the funds he feels they deserve.
“We asked for $7,000 to do all our programming,” said Collins, 21 a third-year business administration student from Atlanta.
“They said they were going to give us $3,900, but still they can zero fund some organizations, and I wanted to ensure that this wasn’t the fate for the historic organization NAACP.” Thaddeus Welch, 20, a biology pre-med student from Miami, asked for more funding on behalf of the National Medical Association of Pre-Med Students. “Every year we come for $10,000. This year they allocated us $2,000,” Welch said. “We are the premiere organization for pre-med students.”
Brison Blackwell attended the meeting as a representative for the campus Safe Team. Last year the safety organization’s funds were cut, but it hoped to be restored by next year. Blackwell, 19, a sophomore criminal justice student from Chicago, said the Safe Team understands what is happening on campus. He also said campus crime rose when the Safe Team’s funds were cut.
“We are the student police; we keep students safe,” Blackwell said.
More money was put toward the Safe Team and to the National Medical Association of Pre-med Students. Also, the Presidential Ambassadors were given money for their attire.
SGA’s pay was reduced to allot money to help other organizations. Some positions were not funded at all, and for the legislative branch, money that was leftover was added to the Senate.