The Eastern New Mexico University Student Fees Board recommended $1.625 million in student fees be allocated to student organizations in the 2019-2020 school year – a $75,000 cut from current school year’s allocations.
ENMU President Jeff Elwell stated previously that this is a result of a drop in freshman enrollment. Reduced enrollment could mean hundreds of thousands of dollars cut from ENMU’s revenue and a considerable impact to student organizations funded by student fees, he said.
“These organizations — every single one of them — are integral to the university,” Student Government Advisor Bradley Mauldin said in regard to the upset caused by the cuts. “I’d expect any administrator or student leader to fight for their organization when it comes to finances.”
Mauldin said one common misconception about university budgeting is that the budget mostly comprises student fees, when student fees actually only makes 13 percent of the university budget, 3 percent of which is recommended for allocation to student organizations by the student fees board. The other 10 percent is committed to debt management.
The ENMU business office could not be reached as to what is included under debt management and in regard to what other factors may have caused the decrease in funding.
Another misconception, said Mauldin, is that the student fees board has the final say in allocations. The board recommends what to allocate, then the recommendations go through the entire university chain of command for review, with board of regents being the final say.
“We recognize the great strides that each one of these organizations brings to the table,” said Mauldin. “The student fees board [was a] diverse board in a difficult position,” Mauldin added, saying it is easier when the student fees board must recommend what to give instead of what to cut.
Mauldin also said some student organizations will have funds carry over from the current school year into the next. The largest cuts were given to organizations who had more funds to carry over.
He also said the board also factored into their decisions which organizations had funds earmarked for certain projects, such as scholarships.
“We had representatives … from just about every walk of university life that you can think of,” Mauldin said about the student fees board. “They avoided conflicts of interest, were vocal, and were objective.”
Mauldin said officials from the ENMU Business Office are on hand throughout the student fees process to answer any questions or explain any budget processes that students on the board do not understand.
He said the board was “very structured” in their method of addressing the amount of funding given to organizations. Given the circumstances of being at a small university and being surrounded by peers, Mauldin said he was proud of the board for remaining objective in their decisions.
Note: The Chase may include additional commentary from the business office to this story when they can be reached next week.