Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Power outage rocks campus
Power outage rocks campus
Jack Brandt September 13, 2023

Miscommunication between WAUG and SGA leads to budget changes

WAUG, Augustana’s student-run radio station, will not be able to continue operating under its current budget throughout the new year. Unless drastic spending cuts are made or its budget increased, WAUG will run out of money by the end of fall term.
WAUG requested $23,385 from the Student Government Association (SGA) during the last spring term along with other groups on campus. After not receiving a response from SGA, WAUG adviser Ian Davis contacted them in August. He was notified WAUG received $8,000 from the administration and nothing from SGA.
Last year, WAUG received $8,000 from the administration and $5,000 from SGA, totaling a $13,000 budget. However, WAUG expanded its staff and increased their hours, therefore increasing its payroll this year. Even if SGA had awarded the same amount as last year, WAUG still would not be able to finish out the year.
“WAUG is the only student radio station on campus, and we have a responsibility to broadcast,” said Jessica Zhou, WAUG program director. “So we do a lot of things, such as Symposium Days, so if we got denied funds it would really hurt the campus community. We are not just another student organization. We provide real-world training in broadcasting and webcasting, so the denial of funds really hurts us.”
SGA President David Sommers said that WAUG’s budget request was set aside at SGA’s annual budget meeting in the spring due to the station’s 114 percent increase in payroll. However, SGA never contacted WAUG about their concerns with the station’s budget. Sommers added that the dean of student’s office, not SGA, has funded WAUG’s payroll in the past three years, but WAUG believed SGA would cover that.
“(WAUG) assuming that was a mistake on their part,” said Sommers. “It was without a doubt a mistake on SGA’s part for not sending them an email, notifying them of their budget.”
Zhou said that the reason the budget request was so high compared to last year’s request was that WAUG did not realize that the funding from Campbell had already been taken out of their budget last year, and this year Campbell’s portion of the payroll was added into the budget request. WAUG is filing a contingency for SGA’s Thursday meeting, asking for $15,148.59 to cover the remaining payroll costs and expenses.
“We have our budget approval last year by SGA for $13,000. So, we are asking for $2,000 more, because we are doing more things, like want to have more live events and be more involved on campus,” said Zhou.
Sommers said that SGA and Dean of Students Evelyn Campbell support WAUG’s expansion.
“The only thing is that that growth has to happen on a responsible level,” said Sommers. “WAUG never communicated to us that they had hired on new people. They never communicated to the administration that that was their goal. They never communicated to anyone other then themselves that that was their goal. They just decided that they were going to hire people and expect SGA to fund it.”
At the end of the year, SGA asks all the student groups to fill out a budget request form, then the previous administration, the current administration, Dean Campbell, staff accountant Missy Lambrecht, and a financial advisor convene to review the budgets and allocate funds.
“A lot of the times, we side on the more conservative notion, because if we don’t feel like there’s enough information…we would much rather send them a note saying ‘please come before the senate. This is a decision that the exec board doesn’t feel it can make on their own. We would like the student body to make a better impact and a better decision,’” said Sommers.
Davis said in an email, “Unlike other student organizations (say Anime or Paintball Club), WAUG is not a hobby. It is part of the Communication Studies educational experience, offering students valuable skills and resume-building work.”
Davis said that the contingency request might be “step in the right direction, but it does not explain the initial neglect of our funding request or the total lack of funding in contrast with previous years.”
Striving for more transparency, Sommers said the SGA executive board decided to post the budgets for all of the student groups.
“That’s student money,” said Sommers. “They should be able to look at it.”
Sommers said that SGA is in the process of transferring the paper copies of the allocations into a “more user-friendly version.” He said the budgets will be posted either on Thursday or on Sept. 10.

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Miscommunication between WAUG and SGA leads to budget changes