Clubs struggle to make ends meet

The student senate listened Monday to several campus clubs and organizations voice their concerns regarding allocated funds and agency groupings among Activities and Service organizations at Florida A&M University.

Jarred Morgan, an A&S liaison for the S.A.F.E. Team began the meeting by revealing the effects of recent budget cuts.

“The S.A.F.E. Team is on the verge of not being staffed anymore after spring break due to lack of funding and budget slashes,” Morgan said.

Morgan said the result of inadequate funds given to the S.A.F.E. Team came as a surprise after the S.A.F.E. Team was forced to cut back on staff and safety provisions for student commuters on campus.  

“The S.A.F.E. Team is an escort service designed to provide students with safe transportation around campus,” said Derron Bennett, director of the S.A.F.E. Team, who also voiced his concerns about the recent cutbacks.

“The students appreciate us because so many people don’t want to walk alone,” said Bennett, 24, a graduate business administration student from Stone Mountain, Ga.   

Bennett said the S.A.F.E. Team work closely with the FAMU Police Department to provide a safe and secure service for students who commute around campus. 

However, Bennett says that as a result of the recent cuts, the S.A.F.E. Team has not only had to cut the amount of staffers on duty, but they had to reduce several designated locations where students were able to contact an escort. 

“Our main location is the library only because we are so under staffed,” Bennett said.

However, among the cutbacks, Morgan said that he would continue to ensure the safety and concerns of students by continuing to seek ways to obtain additional funding through other financial outlets like the economic and development committee.

In addition, Morgan added that the S.A.F.E. Team is always in need of help and encouraged those in the gallery to volunteer with several organizations and clubs to keep students safe around campus.

Dwayne Cole, Student Government Association adviser provided the senate with the university spring 2006 budget summary that displayed A&S organization funding amounts.

Although Cole answered questions from senators about funding, some senators grew questionable about the amount of allocated funds in the SGA primary accounts.

This year, about 35 percent of allocated funds have gone to SGA primary accounts.

Senate Pro Tempore Ebony Ivory suggested that cuts be made within SGA primary accounts to give additional funding to other organizations in need. 

“We have a lot of priorities, and I think we need to clean house. I say we scale back $1,000 from our SGA president, vice president, and senate president pay,” said Ivory, 20, a junior business administration student from Fort Lauderdale.

Ivory also recommended that senators think about the process of allocating funds and its importance while leaving for spring break.

“Over the break, I suggest that many of you go home and look at how we can try to stay unbiased while allocating funds to organizations that need it the most,” said Ivory.

Cole said the percentage of funds in primary accounts is high for a reason.

“This number is high because money was held back by the Student Government Association last year after we lost our director of student activities in the middle of our last budget application season,” Cole said, saying the change in leadership last year delayed allocation.

Shepiro Hardeman, founder and artistic director for the Strikers, said the Strikers are an A&S organization that exist in an agency group where it does not belong.

“The most appropriate place for us is in the arts and culture awareness group because dancing is about the arts and has nothing to do with music,” Hardeman.

Currently, the Strikers are listed under music and small clubs, which consists of A&S organizations like band operations and concert choir.

“We’re definitely not a small clubs organization. So that’s definitely the wrong category to have us under,” Hardeman said.

“In some cases, we liaisons must have passion and concern to be able to encourage our organizations and clubs that we are here to work for them,” Cole said. 

Contact Christina Hordge at