The Missouri Students Association $1.6 million budget came to the Senate floor with changes to several administrative positions.
The budget will not be impacted by recent MU budget cuts because it is funded directly by student fees, but former interim MSA Vice President Bill Vega said the cuts could affect the budget in the future if the university cuts funds to Department of Student Life services it partially funds, which could force MSA to cover the loss.
Vega, who stepped down as budget committee chairman to be interim vice president in January, said the creation of the budget came without any real complications, but he could foresee problems arising in the next year as the university undergoes changes.
“Another thing to keep your eye on is next year the graduate salaries are expected to increase, which is going to eat into our general budget, because that will be another $3,000 each or more that we just have to have,” Vega said.
Following a recommendation by Student Life, MSA will be adding a student government coordinator and a Department of Student Activities program specialist. Former MSA Adviser Farouk Aregbe, who held the position for 10 years, resigned Feb. 16 to work for Academic Retention Services. His replacement, Bryan Goers, will receive an entry-level salary. The new administrators will allow Goers to focus more on MSA.
Vega said the positions would not be affected by the hiring freeze because hiring was left to the discretion of department vice chancellors, and the new positions had already been approved.
“Farouk oversaw MSA (as well as its auxiliaries and departments),” Vega said. “All of that completely maxxed him out to the point that he spent a good majority of his time on STRIPES and the other philanthropic auxiliaries and no time with (MSA), which was deemed ineffective.”
To absorb the cost of hiring the two staff members, several MSA departments and DSA received some cuts. The MSA advising department and DSA each lost a graduate assistant. Senate chairpeople will also no longer receive payment, which amounted to about $12 a week and $2,000 in the total budget.
Senate chairperson pay has been disputed in years past. After it was cut in 2013, former Senate Speaker Kevin Carr pushed to reinstate it last year to encourage retention of chairpeople.
Vega said the cut was made to promote because auxiliary executive boards do not receive payment. Budget Chairman Jack Blevins said he had not heard any pushback from senators and said the pay was negligible anyway.
“In my personal opinion, you should be in MSA for the benefit of the students,” Blevins said. “For every position that is paid, they generally put more work in than they get paid for.”
The Craft Studio will also receive a change in administration. After former coordinator Kelsey Hammond left, adviser Amy Hay was promoted to coordinator, and the auxiliary was given a paid graduate assistant to compensate for the lost staff member. Because the graduate assistant is paid less than Hay was as an adviser, the change creates a net decrease in expense for the auxiliary.
Despite the projected decrease in enrollment, the overall budget is slightly higher than last year’s due to a substantial carry over from the previous year. The carry-over is due to staff positions that were vacated and left empty, including the Student Legal Services lawyer.
Next year, the SLS position will be filled by part-time employees, but Vega said MSA would work to create a partnership with the law school to provide law students with work experience.
The budget entered second readings during Wednesday’s full Senate meeting on March 16 and passed on with no amendments. It will go on to third readings and be voted on March 23.
Edited by Waverly Colville | firstname.lastname@example.org