SABC Budget Remains Stagnant, While Number of Clubs Increases


The amount of money each club receives is discussed and decided upon within SABC, while trying to meet the demands of club leaders (PHOTO BY CONNOR MANNION/THE OBSERVER)


UPDATED:11:51 p.m. Sept. 9, 2015

During the 2014-2015 school year, 11 new clubs were approved at Fordham Lincoln Center (FLC), meaning SABC will have to divide its already tight budget among even more student organizations. The money allocated to clubs comes directly from the activities fee that students at Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) and the Gabelli School of Business (GSB) are charged with every semester within the LC General Fee. Although the fee is constant, the incoming freshman class is considerably larger than the previous one, which could translate into an increase in budget.

The amount of money every club receives is discussed and decided upon within SABC, while trying to meet the demands of club leaders. The chair of SABC is a position automatically occupied by the treasurer of the United Student Government (USG). Leighton Magoon, FCLC ‘17, current president of USG, was last year’s chair and treasurer. As such, Magoon was in charge of budget allocation and cuts.

“We’re hoping the increase [in class size] will give us more to work with, and that even with the new clubs, it will still help,” he said. When asked whether this will solve the problem, he said,“ it won’t fix the issue of having to cut budgeting expenses down, but we are hoping it will make a difference. “The class of 2018 showed an increase as well, with 556 accepted students as opposed to 449 the year before.

In order to form a new club, students must submit a club registration packet, which includes a written constitution. Due to the overwhelming amount of club applications received last year, a new policy was added, asking students to also submit a sample budget for one semester, either general or itemized. “Most clubs just need a couple hundred bucks for dinner outings,” Jacob Azrilyant, FCLC ‘16, said.

Azrilyant had served as vice president of operations for USG during the past two years and has overlooked the creation of 16 new clubs on campus. There are currently 51 clubs on the Lincoln Center campus.  “No club was denied on the basis of its sample budget, that was just an extra conversation that we had with them,” he said. “Sometimes we had to let them know they might not get what they want.”

“It is fiscally irresponsible to host Winterfest,” – Jacob Azrilyant

With the creation of new clubs came the need to divide a roughly constant budget into several smaller pieces. Asked about budget cuts, Magoon responded, “we try to be as fair as possible.” When it comes to the decision-making process, there is no set algorithm. If we were to make clean cuts across the board,” Magoon said, “smaller clubs would be more affected. We try to make deductions based on how large a club is, but its needs as well: larger clubs host larger events.”

Azrilyant, however, offers a different solution for allocating funds. He said, “it is fiscally irresponsible to host Winterfest, an event that costs a lot of money and recently hasn’t been hitting its attendance quota, when so many clubs are in need of funds.”  Dr. Dorothy Wenzel, director of Office of Student Leadership and Community Development, disputed Arzilyant’s comment that Winterfest has not met it’s quota. “Wintefest has met its attendance goals since its first year, with the last two concerts reaching fire code capacity in Pope.”

According to the former USG member, the money going into Winterfest should be allocated towards the small clubs on campus that are trying to build a participant basis and grow. “My concern is with the clubs that have a solid leadership in place and a powerful mission statement but are denied their potential to grow because SABC doesn’t have the necessary funds,” Azrilyant stated. Winterfest 2015 cost Fordham roughly $36,000, as confirmed by Dr. Dorothy Wenzel, director of Office of Student Leadership and Community Development.

“I am not against the event itself,” he continued, “just against the amount that it costs, considering a lot of new clubs have the potential to blow up into bigger clubs, they just need the money.”

USG received an overwhelming number of applications, particularly from the incoming class. “It’s not uncommon to see freshman want to start new clubs as soon as they get to Fordham,” Magoon said. For this reason, another policy that has been discussed was setting a time limit within which students can submit club registration packets, the first and last months of a semester being off-limits. “Last year I had two new club requests from freshmen on the second day of orientation,” Azrilyant mentioned. Out of the eleven new clubs approved last year, three were started by freshmen.

As for this year, Alec Padron, FCLC ‘18 and incoming chairperson of SABC, will work closely with Magoon to “make sure we will be addressing the budget and make sure the deductions continue to be fair.”

Correction: An earlier version of this article stated there were 65 clubs on campus, the correct number is actually 51 clubs on the Lincoln Center campus.