APB subsidized by students, at expense of students

We are the 99 percent. More accurately, we’re the 99.6 percent. After a discussion was raised about the activity fee the university charges students, I decided to look a little more closely at the relationship between SGA, APB and the Student Activity Fee.
For those unaware, the $116 Student Activity Fee is charged to each student who goes to Gannon University every year. Before looking into it, I assumed this was controlled by the administration and SGA. I was wrong.
Let’s take a look at the math.
Of this fund, which works out to be a little more than $300,000 (3,000 students multiplied by $116 = $348,000), only 37 percent is granted to SGA. On the other hand, 63 percent of it goes directly to APB. To give you some reference, that’s $42.92 of your tuition going to SGA and $73.08 going to APB.
SGA holds annual elections, publishes its annual budget on EngageU, holds public meetings and allows students to comment on its funding practices. Any recognized organization on campus can attend a SGA meeting and request funding.
On the other hand, APB has not published their budget on EngageU – which is ironic considering the fact that almost everything on that site is branded with APB’s name – does not hold public elections and does not fund student-led organizations.
So why are we the 99.6 percent? Well, looking at APB’s governance and constitution, they have 13 members on its board. Thirteen members equal about 0.4 percent of the student population. That’s 0.4 percent of the students controlling over 60 percent of the Student Activity Fee.
By contrast, SGA has more than triple the representation.
In addition, APB also has some influence over SGA. Not only does the board maintain a functional representative on SGA, but it also has to approve any change to the funding ratio. What this means, is that APB will continue to receive 63 percent of the Student Activity Fee until the organization wants to cut its own funding.
I’m not saying that APB is an organization that doesn’t merit any funding. I’m not saying that the events it holds are pointless or inexpensive. All I’m saying is that we should hold this organization to the same scrutiny as the university and SGA are held to. We, as students, should be aware of where our money is going and what it’s funding.
I don’t think it’s out of the question to ask ourselves if organizations are really following their mission and serving the students effectively. True criticism is the only way to effectively make this campus better. Do we really need these sunglasses with APB’s logo? Do we really think it’s wise to spend money on a comedian, or should we fund a club/organization instead?
Ultimately, I think the wise move would be to force APB to request money from SGA just like any other organization. Not only will this encourage financial full-disclosure, but also promote a consolidation of power for the students. The money is ours, and I suggest we reclaim it.

MICHAEL HAAS
[email protected]knights.gannon.edu