The Georgetown University Student Association (GUSA) Senate’s Finance and Appropriations Committee (FinApp) cut funding for the Media Board and the Performing Arts Advisory Council (PAAC) as part of its student activities budget for the 2024 fiscal year.
The Media Board allocates funding to Georgetown’s student media groups, including publications such as The Hoya, The Georgetown Voice and The Indy, as well as the student radio station WGTB. For the 2023-24 academic year, the Media Board received $85,000 in GUSA funding, a 5.56% decrease in its allocation from the previous fiscal year and only 55.19% of the board’s $154,018 request.
FinApp initially cut the Media Board’s funding to $79,600 during its Feb. 26 deliberation before increasing the Media Board’s allocation to $85,000 after an appeal meeting March 18.
PAAC received $83,527, a 3.99% decrease in its allocation from the 2023 fiscal year and just 54.7% of the amount the committee requested, $152,690.
The full GUSA Senate confirmed FinApp’s proposed budget in a unanimous 21-0 vote at its March 26 meeting after the committee conferred in its annual budget summit Feb. 25 and 26 and in its appeals session March 18.
For the 2024 fiscal year, GUSA had $1.201 million in funding to allocate, an increase from the 2023 fiscal year’s total allocation of $1.17 million. Georgetown’s 11 club advisory boards requested a total of approximately $1.54 million in GUSA funding for the upcoming fiscal year.
FinApp Chair GUSA Senator John DiPierri (SFS ’25) said when presenting the committee’s proposed budget that no club advisory board received its full requested funding because of the significant difference between the total funds requested and GUSA’s student activities budget.
“The goal was to fund each board based on demonstrated need,” DiPierri said at the March 26 meeting. “It’s obviously hard to do that when asks are exceeding the amount of money that we have to allocate in such a meaningful way.”
DiPierri said the cuts to the Media Board’s budget stemmed from FinApp’s concerns with the board’s unnecessary spending.
“We had a variety of concerns regarding their allocation of funds, as it pertains to printing contracts,” DiPierri said. “The nature of the WGTB club, we had some concerns over equipment. We had a lot of clarifying questions and decided a large budget cut would be the way to ensure the Media Board comes back, and we can continue our conversation.”
The committee also had concerns about the financial and environmental implications of subsidizing rising printing costs for Georgetown’s print publications, according to FinApp’s final budget report.
“While we understand and value the importance of print media at Georgetown, there are questions raised regarding whether or not it is financially expedient to continue on a track of accommodating ever-rising printing costs,” GUSA Senator Andrew Wong (SFS ’26), FinApp’s liaison to the Media Board, wrote in the report shared with The Hoya.
“Moreover, the Committee also wishes to see Georgetown’s student publications come up with a plan to meet the 2030 environmental targets set by Georgetown’s Environment and Sustainability Plan,” Wong wrote.
Wong said FinApp plans to create a working group to work with the Media Board in future financial allocation of the Student Activity Fee (SAF), an extra charge each student must pay in addition to their current cost of attendance.
“Student media and publications are extremely important to Georgetown, and I am committed to finding a solution that can both support and grow campus media, while ensuring the Georgetown SAF’s limited funds are being spent smartly,” Wong wrote in an email to The Hoya.
GUSA Senator Rhea Iyer (CAS ’26) opposed the decision to cut the Media Board’s funding to $79,600, considering the Media Board said total print costs for the fiscal year would equal $95,000.
“Our jobs, honestly, at the end of the day, are to evaluate the money that they gave us. And the money that they gave us is the $95,000 for print costs,” Iyer said at the Feb. 26 meeting. “Taking this at face level, they are going to be paying for the full print costs based off of what they said at their presentation. And there’s basically going to be no Media Board as we know it.”
The committee cut PAAC funding after finding that PAAC used around $16,000 of GUSA money to pay students, according to GUSA Senator Saatvik Sunkavalli (SFS ’25), FinApp’s liaison to PAAC.
“Our allocation for PAAC’s budget was informed by a dedication to support campus performances in light of PAAC’s demonstrated increase in membership and quantity of groups,” Sunkavalli wrote in the report. “However, we were concerned with the reveal that PAAC has been allocating money from its student activity funding to pay students, a practice that is highly illegal.”
Seven other advisory boards or organizations — Outdoor Education, Georgetown Program Board, the Advisory Board for Club Sports, the Lecture Fund, the Center for Social Justice Advisory Board for Student Organizations, the Campus Ministry Student Forum and the Student Activities Commission — received more financial allocations than they have in the past. The Transfer Council and Georgetown Opportunities for Leadership Development saw small funding cuts.
DiPierri said he recognizes the effect that every dollar that the committee allocated can have on a student organization.
“We were really trying to consider the impact of every dollar,” DiPierri said at the meeting. “We’re dealing with thousands of dollars, hundreds of dollars. Little movements between boards and organizations can have a very large, tangible effect on club life. Fifty dollars can impact an event in a very dramatic way.”
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