Letter to Students: The procedures and goals of the student senate.

As Vice President of Business Administration for the ASUSF Senate and chair of its Finance Committee, I would like to address concerns raised by the Foghorn’s staff editorial regarding this year’s budget process.

The Finance Committee is comprised of eight voting members, three elected Senators and five student-at-large members appointed through an application and interview process. The Vice President of Business Administration and the President of ASUSF Senate serve on the committee as non-voting members. The Associate Director and Director of Student Leadership and Engagement (SLE) also sit on the Committee as advisors, along with a student secretary appointed by SLE’s Associate Director.

The Finance Committee’s responsibility is to assist in managing the fiscal resources of the Associated Students. To fulfill this responsibility, the Finance Committee must understand the goals, operations, and plans of 17 student Funded Accounts and the impact of those groups on programs and services provided to the student body. During the budget process, the Finance Committee reviews the performance of each Funded Account, analyzes their goals and plans, and develops a recommended budget for approval by the ASUSF Senate.

For this year’s budget process, aside from hours spent reviewing the submitted budget materials, the Committee members spent 22+ hours in budget hearings and deliberation. The Committee looked closely at each Funded Account and asked questions to learn how certain requested items may impact the organization’s ability to serve students. The Committee has a reason for each and every awarded item for the Funded Accounts. Some of the reasons may relate to success of programs, initiatives for outreach, requests for new equipment, new ideas for organization, staff development, and meeting budget requirements. If a Funded Account fails to meet budget requirements (deadline, format, incomplete); they suffer a penalty as outlined in the Budget Packet.

The Finance Committee worked hard to carefully and fairly determine Funded Accounts’ budgets. The Committee understands not all Funded Accounts will be satisfied with the decisions made. Therefore, Funded Accounts were encouraged to appeal if they felt the Committee made an inaccurate decision and the proposed budget was not finalized until those appeals were reviewed. This year’s Finance Committee received two appeals, Foghorn and USFtv. After reviewing the appeals, the Committee finalized the proposed budget.

The proposed ASUSF budget was presented at the weekly Senate Meeting on April 21st and will be debated/approved on May 5th. Along with a presentation from the Finance Committee, Senators were provided with an “Overview of Budget Changes 09,” and “Budget Stipulations for 09-10.” The PowerPoint/video presentation and the documents are available on the Senate’s website at www.usfca.edu/asusf/senate under the BUDGETS tab.

The Finance Committee proposes the ASUSF budget, but has no voting power during the budget approval process. It is the voice of the students of USF that has the power to make adjustments to the proposed budget. All students are encouraged to review the documents and presentations to better understand the proposed budget for 2009-10. The proposed budget binder is available to all students at the UC 100 Front Desk. There, students will find the answers to the majority of questions regarding the increase in Senate’s budget, or decrease in certain Funded Accounts’ budgets. After reviewing these documents, students with budget concerns can contact their Senate representatives. If you are unsure who that is, please visit the Senate’s office in UC 100. Only Senators have voting power, and Senators are expected represent their constituency. Finance Committee Codes are also being reviewed and awaiting approval. If you feel that adjustments to the proposed budgets or changes to Finance Committee membership are inappropriate, please voice your concerns to your Senate representatives between April 21st and May 5th and/or at the May 5th Senate Meeting in Xavier Hall at 6 pm.

Senate works to improve the environment at USF for students. We would like to have USF students fill the seats at every weekly Senate meeting to voice their concerns.

Thank you,
Michelle My Nguyen
Vice President of Business
ASUSF Senate

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