Senate debates agency funding

The Student Government Association senators held its community forum Wednesday in the senate chamber to discuss the budget cuts that left many clubs and organizations with little or no funding.

Sens. Candice Pelham and Adrian Jordan proposed a bill in Monday’s senate meeting that would leave seven activities and services organizations unfunded for next school year.

Because enrollment is expected to decrease and money was needed for the recreation center, the seven organizations will be forced to rely on fundraising efforts. These organization include the S.A.F.E. team, Caribbean Student Association, Lyceum, Alpha Kappa Mu, Flute Choir, FAMU Strikers and Young and Striving.

The senators’ bill was a proposed budget cut for the 2006-2007 school year, for which they had to manage a budget much lower than usual. Several senators commended Pelham and Jordan’s hours of hard work spent cutting back in various areas to have the funds for the services of the new recreation center. 

Students and faculty members of many organizations were in attendance to express their concerns about how the budget was allocated. Members of FAMU’s Marching 100 Band, Strikers, Flute Choir, and Concert Choir were strong in numbers among the forum. Even members of the student government voiced their opinions and concerns of this budget cutback.

Cyrah Hawkins, 21, from Decatur, GA and Striker member and the elected Mr. FAMU for 2006-2007 expressed his disappointment for SGA’s decision to leave the world renowned FAMU Strikers penniless.

“The Strikers represented FAMU on 106 and Park which is a highly syndicated show and for the Strikers not to get any money allocated is a slap in the face because we do so much for the campus,” the criminology student said.

The FAMU Strikers went from $12,000 last budget to $0.

There were also three other members from the Strikers that were in attendance to voice the unfairness of this budget cut. Andre Cunningham, Striker President outlined the accomplishments of the Strikers and what they offered to FAMU’s campus.

“We are recruiters for the university, people come to FAMU because we represent FAMU internationally,” Cunningham said.

One of FAMU’s biggest recruiting devices, the famous Marching 100 will be highly effected by this budget cut. The Marching 100 may now be the Marching 99 because of limited resources and financial cutbacks.

Dr. Julian White, chairman of the music department said, “We are still the best band in the world but we are no longer the largest band because we don’t have the instruments.”

Last year the Marching 100 received $130,000 and this year they will receive $115,100 but is asking for at least $175,000 to function at a level of comfort.

Michael Scott, a member of the Marching 100 provided visuals of the used brass instruments that needed replacing for the concert and marching band.

“Most of our instruments are about 20 years old,” Scott said. Providing visuals seemed to be in the band’s favor as Senators showed amazement to the tarnished and dented instruments that band members call “ancient.”

Another organization on campus that many students may not know about is the FAMU Flute Choir. FAMU Flute Choir is number two in the nation and the only black flute choir in the world.

They were among many organizations that did not receive any funding.

“Without funding we are extinct,” said Dennine White Director of the Flute Choir. The organization needs funding for maintenance, instruments, and music and is asking for $10,000 to function. Senators suggested to them what they suggest to the many other organizations facing the same problem, fundraising.

Candice Thompson a freshman from Gainesville said, ” If they want us to play we won’t be able to because they won’t fund us.”

“We feel bad, but we had to cut the budget,” said Sen. Candice Pelham,19, a second year pharmacy student from Miami Shores.

Contact Son’ya Wilcher at