spends chunk of your university fees
House of Student Representatives receives $20 for every
Whats the best way to spend $88,400? Thats
what the House of Student Representatives had to decide
Treasurer David Watson says $20 from every students
school bill each semester goes to the Student Government
Association. The total amount SGA receives fluctuates
with enrollment and makes up the student body fund.
For the 2003-2004 fiscal year, the total fund is $260,000.
Programming Council receives 55 percent of the student
body fund each fiscal year and the House gets 34 percent.
The remaining 11 percent is for general SGA expenses.
The House budget, which for this fiscal year is $88,400,
is divided among the following:
The permanent improvement fund receives 25 percent,
or $22,100, of the House budget to spend on tangible
items that will improve the university property long-term.
The special projects fund gets 13 percent, or
$12,000, of the House budget. Funds are distributed
at the discretion of the House to benefit the majority
of TCUs populations, according to the House fiscal
The conference and convention fund gets 7 percent,
or $6,200, of the House budget. Funds are used to help
organizations pay for trips to conferences.
No more than 50 percent of any of the above funds can
be spent in the fall semester unless the House votes
to override the rule, according to Finance Committee
Before funds are granted for any bill, the Finance Committee
debates the worthiness of the bill and how much should
be allocated, Watson said. The House then debates the
bill, amends it if necessary and votes. A simple majority
is needed for the bill to pass.
Sometimes bills that come through House earlier
get more money, Watson said. It is impossible
to determine how many bills we will have that need to
The House has typically had three or four bills from
organizations requesting money in past semesters, Watson
said. This semester, 11 bills requesting money were
on the House floor.
A Finance Committee guideline states the committee should
allocate less money to each organization so it can fund
more. Watson said he is considering setting a deadline
early in the semester for submitting bills so the committee
can compare them and allocate funds fairly.
Everybody who complains to me wonders why they
got a certain amount when another group got more,
House adviser Larry Markley says he supports Watsons
The Permanent Improvement Committee had plans to build
a patio for $28,000 near the sand volleyball courts
using the permanent improvements fund, said Lenny Armijo,
The proposal for the patio was tabled indefinitely because
the university wouldnt help pay for the patio,
Watson said the committee spent $1,600 to install wireless
Internet access from Sadler Mall to University Drive
The special projects fund provided $6,300 for a new
SuperFrog suit and $4,000 for four members of the Pi
Kappa Phi fraternity to ride across the country for
A bill passed in March prohibits future charitable donations
by the House.
The special projects fund also provided $1,700 to send
the African Heritage Organization on a service trip
to Kenya, but those funds were returned when the trip
was canceled because of a travel warning from the U.S.
State Department. The African Heritage Organization
was going to receive $12,508 from the reserve account
before the trip was canceled.
The conference and convention fund provided Alpha Kappa
Alpha sorority with $1,041 and Delta Sigma Theta sorority
with $2,100 to go to their national conventions.
The remaining special project money was converted to
the conference and convention fund late in the semester
to provide about $1,300 for Destination Imagination
to go to an international competition and $1,250 to
send Fellowship of Christian Athletes to its regional
The House also gave $200 to DENT, an eating disorder
support group on campus, Watson said.
Jonathan Leer, a Foster Hall representative, said he
thinks the funds were used well and said
he was glad the House supported several minority organizations.
Rahwa Neguse, a junior sociology and pre-med major,
It is difficult for minority organizations to
get support from the House because it is not diverse
and therefore not sympathetic, said Neguse, a
member of the African Heritage Organization.
There are not enough free thinkers in that room,
Neguse said. Members are not aware of how powerful
their vote is.
Neguse said it is difficult for the average student
to get involved at meetings because they dont
know the rules and procedures.
Thomas Guidry, another Foster Hall representative, said
the House spends money unwisely.
Some people in SGA want to spend the entire budget
and, therefore, make decisions that are fiscally unsound,
Guidry said he is sponsoring a bill that would limit
the amount each person could get from the conference
and convention fund. The House overspent on the African
Heritage Organization trip, Guidry said.
People shouldnt use SGA to fund more than
50 percent of their trip, Guidry said. They
should do additional fund raising on their own.
An organization cant receive funds in two consecutive
years unless the Finance Committee deems it appropriate,
according to the committee guidelines.
Budgeted funds that are not used where allocated can
be used to pay a deficit in another part of the budget
or put into the general reserve, Watson said. In the
future, he said he would like to see each fund roll
over for use in the next fiscal year.
Excess funds usually result from a higher enrollment
than what was estimated at the time the budget was prepared,
Watson said the reserve is about $120,000. Money from
the reserve can be used at the discretion of the House,
but Watson said they try to save it for special cases.
It is a safeguard if we go over budget,
Watson said no reserve funds were spent this semester.
The House had more substantial bills this semester than
in the past when it has spent less than what was budgeted,
The House is conceptually looking at the reserve
as money that needs to be used rather than letting it
sit there, Markley said. They didnt
really broadcast the reserve in the past.
The reserve is not allowed to go below $20,000, Markley
Money is also allocated to House committees for expenses,
retreats, awards, projects and programs.
The House also funds buses to the airport for Thanksgiving
holiday, community service projects such as LEAPS
campus-wide community service day College
Student for a Day, several campus leadership awards,
legal advice for students and club sports.
The $13,000 given to club sports every year is distributed
by TCU Recreational Sports, but Watson said he will
propose changes that will require club sports to ask
the House directly for money from the special projects
and conference and convention funds instead like other
The annual budget is proposed by the treasurer to the
House late in the spring semester and must be approved
by a majority vote.