Student government fights for funds

By Jocelyn Fowler

While President Ken Starr and the Baylor Chamber of Commerce have been busy deciding how to improve Baylor’s academic programs, the student body officers have been busy lobbying for more funds to improve the quality of campus programs for students.

At last Thursday’s Student Senate meeting, Houston senior Brian Kim, internal vice president, presented a new budget proposal to senators, who unanimously approved the proposal.

The Student Senate has approved the new budget, but the proposed funds will not be available until Jackson and the operations, finance and administration office give final authorization.

The new budget, which allocates additional funding to programs such as Diadeloso and Christmas on Fifth Street, is the result of negotiations and ideas passed between various Baylor entities over the past year.

According to Dr. Kevin Jackson, vice president for student life, plans to raise allocation funds for campus programming were first mentioned last year when this year’s budget was made, but student government has been the proverbial icing on the cake.

“Last spring, Student Senate passed a piece of legislation that basically indicated that they felt that additional funding should be provided to Student Senate so that it can allocate more money to campus programming,” Jackson said. “Bottom line: We ought to see enhanced programming on campus for students because of the great work of student government.”

Kim, who has worked on the budget proposal since its beginning, is excited to see the budget officially approved and in action. Kim said organizations such as the Baylor Activities Council and the Campus Programming Board will use these funds to bring in more high-profile speakers to address students.

Students may also expect to see more high-profile entertainers as well if this new budget is passed, as approximately 60 percent of the new budget is dedicated to music and entertainment for campus events.

In a time of rising tuition costs some senators initially expressed concerns about where the nearly quarter of a million dollars would come from to support the proposed budget.

These apprehensions did not go unconsidered by Kim and Jackson, who stressed their commitment to fund events that were better, as well as cost efficient.

“We are always looking for ways to be more efficient in how we spend our money,” Jackson said. “We are constantly looking for ways to look at what students’ needs are, like additional bus routes or like improving campus programming and then take the funding model that we have and then ask the question do we have those resources to where we can reallocate them and meet those needs.”

Kim said students’ budgets had been considered and what he believes is a satisfactory solution had been found.

“I just want to make this very, very clear that this is a reallocation of an existing model that Baylor already had,” said Kim. “In no means are we increasing anyone’s fees.”

Jackson said review and approval of the proposal should take two to three weeks.