On Sept. 21, Student Senate approved a recommendation for Euphonics, the co-ed a capella student organization, that preserved special exemption status and required debt to be paid within two semesters. Last week, Euphonics members met with Student Senate to address a budget deficit of $1,237 accumulated during the 2009-2010 fiscal year.
The Senate’s action was required because Tracey Howard, Assistant Dean of Program Development, initially covered the $1,237 debt from the Student Activity Fund during the summer.
Euphonics recorded an album in spring 2009 and placed an order for 500 CDs. The deficit stemmed from a year-long delayed product shipment and the sale of approximately 15 CDs due to their arrival shortly before semester-end, according to Kayla Schultz, program director and Cheboygan senior.
“We are taking action to move forward, pay the deficit and ensure this never happens again,” said Connor Sweeney, Traverse City junior and Euphonics music director.
Appropriations committee’s decision allows Euphonics two semesters to pay the deficit with probation. This totals approximately $700 due to Senate per semester.
Euphonics, an organization with special exemption status, is allocated $3,500 per year – which is used to pay for lighting, recording and other fees from provided student concerts. The motion results in a loss of less than one-half of Euphonics’ budget.
According to Mariah Fiorillo, Chief Financial Officer of Student Senate and Lake Isabella sophomore, Euphonics’ special exemption status will be determined on a semester basis. This status is provided to organizations that host large events that require additional funding than the $800 limit allocated per specific program, which would be a concert in Euphonics’ case.
Sweeney said limited communication between the previous executive board and new slate led to initial surprise that the CDs had not been paid for when Euphonics was contacted about the deficit in July.
“A gross error in communication occurred, and the new executive board was completely ignorant of the issues at hand,” Schultz said.
As a result of the issue, Euphonics has received anonymous donations, started a letter-writing campaign, and enacted an open communication policy. It has also mandated students of junior status serve on the executive board to ease transition.
Sweeney said Euphonics cannot charge a fee concert tickets because they would then have to pay for song rights, which are expensive.
“We are looking at our concerts and asking ourselves, ‘What can we cut’,” said Sweeney. “We look forward to a renewed relationship with both Senate and the campus as a whole, and are very excited and hopeful for the upcoming year.”
Sweeney said Euphonics is very thankful that Student Senate has been forgiving and understanding toward the group.
“This number…is still a much higher figure compared to last fall when they were not special exemption,” Fiorillo said. “And, they were still capable of putting on a great show then too. This year they are just going to have to work as hard as they did last fall.”
Appropriation’s motion also required Euphonics to review and re-write its constitutional by-laws to prevent additional over-spending resulting from lack of communication. Euphonics executive members are mandated to meet with appropriations committee in the spring to discuss its budget.