SGI Approves Budgets

In a unanimous vote, Student Government Inc. on Monday passed its annual budget that contained cuts to operations and special allocations while slightly increasing funding for student organizations.

The full report has not been made public, though a brief circulation to attendees at Monday’s meeting revealed that SGI’s full budget is  about $1.14 million. SGI President Christian Williams, citing administrative concerns, did not release the full budget before The Torch went to print.

“I don’t have a problem releasing the budget,” he told the Torch. “If it’s a general St. John’s community consensus, we’ll release it.”

Williams did say that maintaining funding levels for student organizations was a priority — which resulted in a $35,000 decrease in its operations budget, which includes funding for office expenses, maintenance and Public Safety details.

Williams said SGI was trying to be “frugal, but not cheap” with its cuts, and that many of the cuts were in areas that were in surplus last year.

“These cuts make sense,” he said. “We knew we could live with them.”

The unanimously passed budget was a big step for the new SGI board that professes, the lack of a full budget release notwithstanding, a desire for greater transparency. Williams said he went “line-by-line” through the organization’s ledger in the summer to get a full grasp of SGI’s finances.

“You don’t want a president that can’t explain what you’re doing with all the money,” he said. “There’s nothing stupider than that.”

In addition to the cuts to operations, a $10,000 cut was made to the special allocations budget, which both Williams and treasurer Elaine Vasquez Jorge said would be replenished throughout the year.

Much of the time at the meeting, in addition to voting on the budget, was also spent voting on a new category of student organizations, which according to the e-board, would receive full recognition in the eyes of SGI, with the exception of receiving an annual budget.

Williams, and Jorge, said one of the main concerns of the e-board was the student organizations who were not spending the budget that was allocated to them for the year.

To account for this, Jorge said she had talked with many of the leaders of the organizations to come up with a fair budget for the year.

“For the most part people either got what they asked for, or if not, a little bit more than that,” she said.

Williams expressed confidence that SGI would be able to live within the means of the budget for the entirety of the academic year.

“I have no doubt, because of the way this budget is we’re going to have one of the best years we’ve ever had.”