BAC Behind Forum’s Absence

Conspicuously absent from the Colgate campus in the past two months has been the Forum. The Staff would like to take this opportunity to explain why we have been unable to publish, and offer a few suggestions to prevent similar problems in the future.

The Forum was founded in the fall of 2003 in order to provide a medium for students and faculty to share political and social ideas with the hope of fostering increased political activism on campus. During the 2003-2004 academic year a total of three issues were published, and with each passing issue the Colgate community became increasingly engaged. The staff met in September 2004 to plan an ambitious printing schedule of six issues, three per semester for this academic year. In our first Budget Allocations Committe (BAC) proposal of the year, we clearly outlined this schedule, including firm deadlines and publication dates, and requested funds for all six issues. The BAC did not acknowledge this request and granted us funds for only one issue. Indeed, each time we went before the BAC we requested funds for the remaining issues and each time the BAC failed to acknowledge these long-term requests.

We were content with receiving funding on an issue by issue basis under the assumption that we would continue to receive funding for all six issues. This arrangement became problematic during the second semester when following our fourth issue proposal for funding, the BAC failed to inform us of their decision for over a week and half (and following four emails from the co-Editors-in-Chief). We discovered their decision to deny us funding via the Senate minutes, an unacceptable and unprofessional arrangement to say the least.

Due to their obvious negligence, we have no doubt, the BAC rescinded their decision and decided to allocate us the money for the fourth issue stipulating that we look into cheaper printing houses. The Forum is currently published through the Colgate Printshop at an average cost of $1500 per issue depending on length. Despite being confident that Colgate’s in-house printing services were competitive, we investigated outside publishing services and found that the Colgate Print Shop offered the best price.

After establishing the Colgate Print Shop was the best way to go, we emailed the BAC, requesting input as to if a fifth BAC request would be approved for the same amount as prior issues or if we should look into other options that might have reduced cost. This process took time and throughout all correspondence, the BAC consistently dragged their feet failing to respond in a timely manner. The BAC never did respond to that email and when we went to submit a proposal for our fifth issue, we found the BAC was no longer convening and funds were exhausted for the school year. While making efforts to meet the requests of the BAC, money was being spent. Our intentions for a six issue printing schedule were well-established from our first BAC proposal in September.

Our dismay is not that we were denied funding from the BAC but that while we were working to satisfy the BAC’s requests, we were never made aware that the pool of student funds was disappearing. In short, we were hung out to dry.

Based on our experience this semester with the BAC, we would like to offer three suggestions to improve the functioning of the BAC and the experience of student groups overall. One, that the BAC faithfully follow their bylaws and notify groups of their decision within the two day stipulated time frame. In retrospect, the problems experienced by The Forum could have been avoided by simply following the established guidelines. The parliamentarian should play a more active role in such oversight of the BAC.

Second, as suggested by Jareau Hall and other students who had concerns about the BAC over the course of this year, we support the following amendment:

Whereas, there has been inconsistency in the BAC’s funding of certain organizations, an amendment is necessary to promote visibility and create a better relationship with SGA-recognized organizations.

Let it be resolved that article III, section 6 of the SGA constitution’s Bylaws of the Budget Allocation Committee, entitled, “Approval/Denial,” be amended to read as follows (all additions are in bold): B. Upon approval or denial of funding by the BAC (or SGA as applicable), the treasurer shall inform the SGA group of the decision within two (2) days, provide the organization with a completed set form (to be created by the treasurer and approved by the Senate at the beginning of the semester) explaining the reason for the approval/denial of funding and relate the minutes of the meeting in order to convey how the decision was arrived at.

Third, and most importantly, Colgate University should allocate more money to the BAC. There are more student groups than ever and each student group is more active than ever before. This is a good thing. Unfortunately, the $590,000 the BAC was allocated for this past school year was insufficient.

We would like to close by apologizing to our committed writers who submitted articles for our fifth and sixth issues. We look forward to publishing your views next school year and we thank the entire Colgate community for their continued support.