By Alec Stutson, Reporter
After Missouri Students Association Senate Speaker Mark McDaniel gaveled in the meeting, conversations and discussions ranged from diversity, to elections and more. However, there was one topic that was brought up again and again: the university’s budget. Or, more accurately, the cuts to the budget.
It’s been almost a year since the racially charged protests and student demonstrations made national news. Since then, the University of Missouri has been facing image problems, both internal and external. While the Senate discussed working towards better on-campus equality, they’ve still been faced with the fallout from dropping enrollment. The freshman class of 2016 is the smallest incoming class the university has had in many years.
“Enrollment is down,” McDaniel said. “With the events that happened last year, we did receive a 30% drop in enrollment. That is an effect that is going to be felt.”
Additionally, due to state wide laws in Missouri, Mizzou is not able to raise in-state tuition in order to compensate for the decrease in funding. Because of this, many student organizations that do not fundraise, such as MSA, KCOU and Stripes, will have significant cuts to their yearly budget.
During the senate meeting, multiple speakers and chairmen of different organizations spoke, and almost every one of them mentioned the budget cuts in some respect. The Department of Student Activities received criticism last year for going over budget, and their new leadership has already stated that they are going to try very hard this year to stay within their allotted budget.
To make the budget crisis worse, the University just graduated most of the students who enrolled in 2012, the largest class in Mizzou history.
When asked what he thought the budget cuts meant not only for MSA, but for student organizations as a whole, McDaniel said that organizations shouldn’t feel like the cuts won’t affect them.
“That’s one of the things that [student government] is working on,” McDaniel said, “finding out where those cuts can be made.”
While there certainly will be widespread budget cuts, it’s currently unclear exactly where they will come in to effect. As we grow closer to budget season, the Budget Committee will be having meetings with each of the auxiliary organizations to work out the specifics. “It could be something as simple as food budgets being reduced… But there’s definitely going to be a lot less wiggle-room”
McDaniel emphasized that despite the lack of funding, the senate’s main focus is to still have as much of an impact this year, as they have in the past. He believes that it is the senate’s job to represent the voice of as many students as possible, and if everything goes well, MSA will still be able to do that this year.
However, that doesn’t mean that everything will be exactly the same.
“If I was a betting man,” McDaniel said, “I wouldn’t bet on anyone avoiding a cut”.
The next MSA Senate meeting will be Wednesday September 14th at 6 p.m.
Updated 9/1 at 12:20 p.m: The original article referred to the “Department of Student Affairs.” MSA does not have a department by that name. The article has been changed to the correct title, the Department of Student Activities.