Over the past two years, student government has given out about $295,000 to student and academic organizations, said Corey Snyder, student government’s director of finance.
But some student organizations say that student government has requested they return money raised from student government-funded events, meaning organizations don’t make a profit from these events.
“We did not want organizations making a profit off of something we funded,” Snyder said.
This rule, enacted in spring 2017, has discouraged some organizations, such as Chapman on Broadway, from seeking funds for productions.
Margot New, director of “Chicago The Musical,” said that Chapman Student Organizations Production had requested funding from student government to rent audio and lighting equipment for the production.
Though New was aware that ticket sale profits would have to be given back to student government, the strictness of the rule took her by surprise.
“(Student government) has changed their culture from funding people outright to wanting clubs to attempt fundraising and then ask for money (back) – which was new information to us,” she said. “We first requested around $13,000, but they denied our request because we hadn’t attempted any fundraising, and we were requesting about $3,000 more than last year.”
Snyder confirmed this, adding that student government had already funded the purchase of the staging rights, which cost $2,000.
Underclassmen pay $70 per semester to student government, which is included in tuition payments. Snyder said this is why student government can afford to allocate funds to student organizations.
“We do this because a large portion of the student fee goes to us, so we feel it’s our responsibility to disperse back among the students,” he said.
Student government gave between $8,000 and $10,000 to Chapman Student Organizations Production each spring, Snyder said, and student government wanted to have enough in its budget to support all student organizations through the end of the semester.
Sophomore screenwriting major Caleb Levine is involved in the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity and Moonlight Mic, which are two student organizations that have requested funding from student government in the past. Levine said that student government asking for money back is “a bit stingy.”
“I don’t think it’s fair for (student government) to ask for money back, especially if our tuition is what’s going into (its) budget for student organizations,” he said.
New said she understands why student government asks for funds back, as it just follows written policy, but student government’s role in student organization funding requests needs to be clarified.
“If (student government) wants to act like a legitimate investor, then sure, ask for the money back,” New said. “But if (student government) wants their purpose to be to assist and support students in learning about theater and live entertainment … then they shouldn’t make us pay them back.”