S&A Funding Changes Affect Organizations Across Campus

Photo credit Thomas Allen. Used with permission.

When paying for classes, students also have to pay the services and activities (S&A) fee. In the 2019-20 school year, extracurricular activities, co-curricular activities and curricular activities at BC were able to request funding from the S&A fee budget. For the 2020-21 school year and beyond, curricular activities such as drama productions are no longer able to get money from this budget. This change in the 2020-21 school year came for a variety of reasons, including the ASG students wanting more control of S&A fee allocation and the school administration needing to stay in compliance with the Killian document regarding how fees are supposed to be allocated.

Some programs that historically received S&A money will no longer be able to request it under the new rules. Many staff members who help to support curricular activities are upset that the activities that lost funding aren’t being supported by the college administration. Most of these organizations have relied on this funding to make their program successful, and then it was taken away from them. For some, it also felt like the college wasn’t supporting their program. A professor in the Theatre Arts/Drama Department, Tammi Doyle, says that she is “hoping that the college will take up the support of Theatre Arts Drama and Dance productions.” On top of that, political science professor Tim Jones stepped down from his Model UN commitments due to not having enough energy to advocate for Model UN’s funding any longer.

However, other co-curricular and extracurricular activities have been doing quite well financially this year. According to Dean of Student Affairs, Michael Kaptik, “there were slightly over 2.7 million dollars in S&A fees funds allocated to groups, but groups requested to roll over 1.6 million of these funds to the 21-22 S&A budgets.” This means that activities asked for a specific amount of money from their budget to be brought over to the next year, indicating that the group is doing well since they didn’t use all the money allotted to them. In the event that an activity is struggling, Kaptik says, “The activity can go to ASG for additional funds, they can fundraise, they can adjust their budget and activity to fit the allocation and they can reach out to other funding sources on campus.”

There are a couple of changes regarding S&A fees for the 2021-22 school year. S&A fees are now open to all co-curricular and extracurricular activities rather than just activities designated as Student Programs. Previously, S&A fees were just open to activities under Student Programs such as Associated Student Government (ASG), International Student Association (ISA), Student Business Center, and 10 other programs. Now, all programs across Bellevue College are able to apply for S&A fees as long as they are co-curricular or extracurricular. The Academic Student Success Center (ASC), Digital Media Arts and the Center for Career Connections are all examples of programs that would now be able to get funding. In addition to being more inclusive for all student organizations, there was a lot more help given to applicants, such as training and the S&A fees committee reaching out if there were clarifying questions about a particular application. Also, rollover funds are now included in the budget allocation, meaning that programs may receive less money if they already have some money remaining from the previous year. S&A fee applications, where groups requested money, were due on March 23. The S&A committee (made up of the ASG President, ASG Treasurer, two students, one classified staff, one exempt staff and one faculty member) reviewed the applications on April 8-16. This is where they looked at rollover funds, how much money groups requested, how much money there was in the S&A budget if groups were eligible for S&A fees and how much each activity would be able to get.

If there were compliance issues for any of the groups that turned in applications, then feedback was sent to the applicants so that they could potentially revise their applications to become compliant. If they chose not to revise to become compliant, then that group would not be able to get S&A fees. Funding decisions were sent out in an email on April 19 to the applications.

ASG made a recommendation on how the S&A fees should be allocated to the President’s Cabinet who then reviewed the recommendation (how much each activity gets allotted). The Board of Trustees received the S&A fees document on May 10. They looked over the S&A budget recommendations at the May 19 Board of Trustees meeting. They will continue to look everything over during their June 16 meeting. The Board of Trustees meetings are open to the public, and an email is sent out through Outlook about how to join the virtual Zoom meeting for those interested.

Should it be approved, the budget will have significant impacts on programs across the school. According to instrumental music coordinator Jim Sisko, the Instrumental Music Activities, who requested $42,000, “were not originally allocated any funds by the S&A fund committee.” However, Kaptik says he plans to intervene on behalf of the Instrumental Music Activities by “presenting a revised budget.”

BC’s literary journal Belletrist was also denied funding through the process. Cassie Cross, editor-in-chief, says Belletrist uses their budget to print and distribute their student issue Bellezine, make updates to their website and pay for any subscriptions they may need. Since they weren’t provided funding for this year, Cross is hoping they “can get funding from the A&H dean. We were able to get some funding this year, but next year I’m not sure.” Cross feels that the arts and humanities dean has made an effort to support Belletrist, but she is “very disappointed in the S&A process, which seems to have gotten excessively difficult, especially for the arts programs on campus. The S&A funding has the ability to do so much, and I’m sad to see the arts programs having to spend so much time scrounging for funding elsewhere.”

It’s evident that S&A fees largely impact various clubs on campus, especially many of the art programs whose funding was reduced or eliminated or reduced. Overall, organizations are trying their best with the resources they are given. The budget has not been approved yet, so the BC community will soon be able to see who has been most deeply affected.