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Student Council passes spring budget totaling $184,671 after three weeks of deliberation

The budget will support a wide array of initiatives, including diversity grants, Airbus services and more

<p>This budget is larger than last semester’s budget, which was $141,115 — this spring saw a $43,556, or 30.9 percent, total increase.</p>

This budget is larger than last semester’s budget, which was $141,115 — this spring saw a $43,556, or 30.9 percent, total increase.

Student Council passed its spring budget during its general body meeting Tuesday in a 14-0 vote with one abstention. After three weeks of debate, deliberation and amendments, the final budget stands at $184,671.

$175,052 of the total budget comes from the $50 annual Student Activities Fee all students are required to pay through tuition, while $9,619 comes from non-SAF funding. 

This budget is larger than last semester’s budget, which was $141,115 — this spring saw a $43,556, or 30.9 percent, total increase. 

Abel Liu, president of Student Council and fourth-year College student, spoke to his admiration of the budget during Tuesday night’s meeting.

“It dwarfs past Student Council budgets, but not because of bureaucratic bloat,” Liu said. “We're trying to proactively and affirmatively meet the needs of marginalized students through SAS, direct funding and empowerment to marginalized organizations and other services and programs that the whole team is proud to put forward.”

Ceci Cain, vice president of administration and fourth-year Batten student, also expressed satisfaction with the budget, noting that she thinks it will affect the way future generations of Student Council are able to fund initiatives moving forward.

“I just want to reiterate that I’m really proud of this budget and all the work that people put

into it,” Cain said. “I know we use the word unprecedented a lot, but genuinely, this is a whole new kind of philosophy of spending for Student Council.”

Budget Overview

The budget will be allocated towards seven different sectors — Student Council’s Presidential Cabinet Agency, Administrative Committee, Support and Access Services Branch, Organization Committee, Representative Committee, Executive and Administrative Operations and Coalition Engagement. 

Presidential Cabinet Agency

The Presidential Cabinet Agency has a total budget of $62,635, with $59,410 coming from SAF funding. In comparison, last fall’s budget was $53,475 — this means the budget this spring is a $9,160 increase. 

The Presidential Cabinet Agency is responsible for carrying out the long-term goals and objectives of the president. Some of Liu’s current initiatives include funding programs for marginalized student groups, the creation of the police-free crisis intervention force University Networks of Care and supporting students with material necessities, such as food and transportation.

The Academic Affairs Subcommittee will receive $6,600, $6,150 in SAF funding and $450 in non-SAF funding. The Academic Affairs Subcommittee was not a part of previous years’ budgets — it is a new addition to this semester’s budget. $5,525 under the subcommitete’s budget will be directed towards the Cavalier Education Program, which allows University students to create and teach courses. A $4,700 honoraria — a payment for services which don’t usually require a payment or fee — will pay for guest speakers at these events.

The Arts Fund Subcommittee will receive $8,000 in SAF funding, the same amount as last semester. This fund aims to help support music, theater, dance, architecture, writing and visual arts projects for students on Grounds without the means to financially pursue projects they may be passionate about.

The Community Engagement Subcommittee will receive $10,285, with $8,710 coming from SAF funding. This value is a large increase from the $2,600 allocated in last semester’s budget. Part of this fund will cover custodial appreciation, providing $1,600 for thank you cards and posters in addition to a luncheon. 

Funding will also provide for various training programs, with $3,000 going to training for tours of the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center for service CIOs and $4,000 compensation for Charlottesville native and educator Dolly Joseph to talk with CIOs about their role in the community. Joseph will be involved in a semester-long program designed to collaborate with CIOs, guiding them through ways to engage with the community.

The Diversity Engagement Subcommittee will receive $26,075, with $26,000 coming from SAF funding. This is an increase from the subcommittee’s $22,000 budget last fall. This funding will support the diversity grant program, a system of funds directed at supporting multicultural and marginalized CIOs on Grounds. This semester’s budget marks a $4,075 increase from the $22,000 allocated towards diversity grants last semester

The Financial Accessibility Subcommittee will receive $3,600, $3,500 of which will come from SAF funding. $1,500 of these funds will go towards Student Council’s relationship with a CIO known as Refurnished, which provides gently-used furniture to homes and organizations in need. $2,000 will go towards working to find further ways to cover tuition, room and board — specifically, printing and laundry. Last semester, this subcommittee had a total budget of $7,575.

The International Student Affairs Subcommittee will receive $2,800, with $2,200 coming from SAF funding. The money for the International Student Affairs program is directed at supporting international students on Grounds. For example, $1,700 is designated to spring activities for international students designed for education and student enrichment for International Students.  This budget is a decrease from the fall, when Student Council allocated $6,150 towards this subcommittee.

The Legislative Affairs Subcommittee will receive $75, all of which comes from non-SAF funding. These funds will support bonding opportunities for members of the committee. This is a significant decrease from last semester, when the subcommittee received $2,175 — most of this funding last semester went towards efforts to increase student turnout in the general elections.

The Safety and Wellness Subcommittee will receive $1,675, $1,400 of which comes from Student Activities Fees Funding. The subcommittee’s largest expense is the $1,400 it plans to direct towards STI testing as a reallocation from last semester. This is a small increase from the subcommittee’s $1,850 budget last semester.

The Student Life Subcommittee will receive $2,500, with 100 percent of funding coming from SAF funding. This budget will be allocated towards a meal kit initiative designed to create roughly 75 meal kits to go to students with food insecurity, providing them access to food during breaks when the dining halls do not serve food. The subcommittee’s budget did not change from the fall.

The Sustainability Subcommittee will receive $1,025, $950 of which comes from SAF funding. This fund designates $200 in funds to materials going towards a campaign to pressure University of Virginia Investment Management to divest from fossil fuels. $700 of the sustainability funds will go towards composting services and educational materials supporting Student Council’s attempt to push the University towards zero waste. This is an increase from last semester’s allocation of $450. UVIMCO has faced pressure from DivestUVA — a climate justice group that represents organizations like the Young Democratic Socialists of America at U.Va. and the Environmental Justice Collective — to fully divest from fossil fuels since 2015. 

Administrative Committee

The Administrative Committee will receive $5,186, with $3,792 coming from SAF funding — this is a decrease from the $4,550 allocated to the committee last fall. The Administrative Committee provides oversight of Student Council’s internal operations and community relations.

The Alumni Relations Subcommittee will receive $600, with $100 coming from SAF funding. All $600 will go towards a graduation reception and Student Council cords for graduating Student Council members. This budget is not a change from the subcommittee’s funding last fall.

The Data Science Subcommittee is set to receive $370, which includes $70 from SAF funding. $300 of this will be directed towards the coordination of a school-wide survey directed at students, with gift cards incentivizing participation to boost participation numbers. This is a minor increase from the subcommittee’s $300 budget last fall.

The Finance Subcommittee will receive $2,816, $2,722 of which is SAF funding. This value is one percent of both total SAF funding and non-SAF funding from the total budget. The budget will be placed in a reserve intended to be used only as a last resort. 

This budget also provides $1,000 in funding in support of Student Council’s Capital Campaign, which was created in December to support the development of a $5 million endowment for Student Council’s Support and Access Services Branch. Currently, this endowment stands at just over $21,000. The Capital Campaign Ad-Hoc Committee is tasked with raising these funds and is chaired by Jaden Evans, director of finance and third-year College student.

The Marketing Subcommittee will receive $2,325, with $1,325 coming from SAF funding. The entirety of this budget is a reallocation from the prior semester’s budget, directed at merchandise, updated marketing materials and payment towards a website designer. This is a decrease from the subcommittee’s $2,700 budget last fall. 

The Membership Subcommittee will receive $1,400. In this budget, $900 comes from SAF funding. $900 will go towards end-of-semester accolades, including committee-wide awards and the engraved Jefferson Cup given to the Executive Board. The remaining $500 will go towards bonding activities for members of Student Council. This is an increase from the $950 the committee was allotted last semester.

Support and Access Services Branch

Support and Access Services will receive $41,000, with $40,750 provided by SAF funding. This is an almost $15,000 increase from the fall, when just over $25,000 was allocated towards Support and Access Services.

Support and Access Services became the newest Student Council branch after being approved in a constitutional referendum last year. This branch provides resources and services to students, and is currently directed by third-year Commerce student Adrian Mamaril.

“It is truly the case that Student Council has never spent so much money on targeted student services,” Liu said. 

The Accommodations Access Fund will receive $3,500 in SAF funding. This will go towards a fund to support low-income students’ disability accommodations and providing emergency funds when health related fees arise. This was not on last semester’s budget as it is a new addition to Student Council’s Support and Access Services branch. 

Airbus and International Student Summer Storage will receive $20,400 in SAF funding. Airbus service provides transportation to and from various airports, including Richmond, Dulles, and recently added Charlottesville. International Student Summer Storage gives 50 first-year, mainly international students a space to store their items during the summer period. The $11,400 allocated towards Airbus fees will cover those anticipated this semester in addition to paying off a debt of $2,340 incurred in summer 2021.

$5,000 in SAF funding will support the student-run community food pantry and any costs that may be associated with its operation. The food pantry did not receive funding from last semester’s budget. 

U.Va. Mutual Aid will receive $12,100, with $11,850 coming from SAF funding. Founded at the onset of the pandemic, U.Va. Mutual Aid is an organization that provides no-strings attached grants to improve the material conditions of those within the University community, and is directed by fourth-year College student Sarandon Elliott. This spring’s budget is a reallocation from last semester and will support program development and fundraising, in addition to the purchase of an office phone to use for creating official banking app accounts. 

Organizations Committee

The Organizations Committee will receive $35,250, $35,000 coming from Student Activities Fees. The Organizations Committee oversees and supports student organizations, including providing funding and resources to develop, and general regulation of CIO status. Last semester, the committee received $21,650.

CIO Consultants is the University’s central provider of non-financial support to CIOs and will receive $35,000 in SAF funding. $15,000 will go towards supporting the free CIO printing that is available in Newcomb Hall — a figure based on last semester’s utilization rates — while $20,000 is a reallocation to move CIO available lockers to make space for new lockers and use remaining funds to purchase more lockers. This is an increase from last semester’s budget, when they received $21,500.

The Organization Recognition Committee, which evaluates CIO applications and determines whether or not they meet requirements or need further review before obtaining official CIO status, will receive $250 in non-SAF funding to provide food and beverages to the bonding activities of the members of this branch. Last semester the committee did not receive funding in the budget. 

Representative Committee

The Representative Committee serves as the organization of representatives comprising the Representative Body, responsible for drafting and passing legislation. The representative body is currently chaired by third-year College student Gaby Hernandez.

The representative body will receive $1,600 in SAF funds designed to support emergency discretionary needs that may arise throughout the semester. This is more than triple the amount the representative body received last semester, when they were allotted $500. 

Executive and Administrative Operations will receive $32,000, $30,500 of which is SAF funding. 

This budget provides $25,000 to the UNOC pilot program, a community-based crisis response program that will remove the University Police Department from nonviolent mental health crises involving students. The pilot program is slated to launch in the fall, pending University approval, and will operate 24-hours a day Thursday through Sunday. Under the program, paid EMTs and skilled post-graduate student counselors would respond to all mental health crises, interventions with intoxicated persons and aggravated situations within UPD jurisdiction. The program’s proposal has been finalized and is now entering the phase of policy research.

UNOC was created thanks to a number of representatives from the Black Student Alliance, Black Presidents Council, undocUVA, Political Latinxs United for Movement and Action in Society, Housing and Residence Life and Student Council. Funding from Student Council will be supplemented by $18,000 to $27,000 from the Equity Center to pay student employees in this policy research.

Coalition Engagement

Coalition Engagement is tasked with overseeing co-sponsorships between Student Council and external organizations and will receive $7,000, with $4,000 coming from SAF funding. This will go towards co-sponsorships with external organizations. Last semester the group’s budget was $5,000. 

Though the budget passed, Liu said the budget received pushback from administration, including Interim Dean of Students Julie Caruccio. Specifically, Liu pointed towards increased funding directed towards Student Council’s Student Access Services branch as a point of contention.

“Our decision to offer increased funding to the SAS branch and new SAS resources — for example, international students storage space — has caused some tensions in our ability to get Student Council’s budgets approved,” Liu said. 

Liu is waiting for the Student Activities Funding meeting, when the Student Activities Committee under the vice president and chief student affairs officer will formally discuss and approve Student Council’s budget. Before counting any losses, Liu said he is anticipating potential resistance at that meeting.

“I expect that we will see challenges to a few SAS items and possibly other strategic priorities,” Liu said.

Student Council will return to hybrid general body meetings next week on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. Meetings can be accessed online via Student Council’s livestream or attended in-person in the Newcomb Hall South Meeting Room.