Student Activities Fee to make up for sports funding shortfall

The Student Activities Fee will cover the $39,000 shortfall in funding for club sports for next year.

While budget shortfalls forced the physical education department to cut its $39,000 allocation to club sports, the deficit will be filled by a near-equivalent allocation funded by an increase in the Student Activities Fee (SAF), according to Student Government (SG) President and fourth-year Matt Kennedy.

“[Student Government] is trying to make sure that clubs have the capacity to function and put on the same number of events as they have this year,” Kennedy said.

SG will devote $36,000 to sports clubs out of the $83,000 increase to the SAF, which Kennedy said approximately matched the 4.5 percent increase in tuition announced earlier this month.

Combined with the $61,000 they already receive annually from the SAF, sports clubs’ operating budget will total $97,000, which is $3,000 less than this year’s allocation.

Sharlene Holly, director of student activities, advised SG on their budget planning. “The decrease [in funding] will not be insignificant,” she said, “but groups should still be able to continue their primary functions.” Additional funds might become available “if any of the funding bodies—most notably [the Student Government Finance Committee]—have a surplus at the end of the year,” she said.

Such a funding formula is expected to be temporary, Bill Michel, assistant vice president for Student Life said.

“We agreed that it made sense to list the additional support as a temporary item,” Michel said, “so that the allocation could be reviewed in future years when the economic climate improves.”

Kennedy echoed the sentiment. “We’re hoping that it will be temporary—as the downturn goes up, we can return to normal,” he said.

Anxieties about funding for extracurriculars have risen in light of the economic slowdown, with several of the University’s peer institutions cutting back on club and varsity sports. Most notably, MIT cut eight of its 41 varsity teams as part of an effort to cut spending by 15 percent in the next three years.