News | Payday for SSMU clubs

Debating Union, Conservative McGill, SPHR to receive less than half of their request

The SSMU Funding Committee allocated over $14,000 to 16 different clubs in its latest report, as approved by Council last Thursday. According to the SSMU website, the Club Fund for 2010-2011 amounts to about $48,800.

Some of the clubs applying for funds received less than half of their requested budget, including the McGill chapter of Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR), the Ismaili Students’ Association, the Orthodox Christian Fellowship, Conservative McGill, and the McGill Debating Union.

The Funding Committee allocates money based on a club’s membership, level of activity, ability to generate revenue, and benefit that the group provides to the McGill community. In order to apply for funding, a group must be a full-status club of SSMU, and provide a detailed budget and budget defense to the Committee, which includes VP Finance and Operations Nick Drew, VP Clubs and Services Anushay Khan, and Clubs and Services Representatives Maggie Knight and Max Zidel. Groups can apply in the fall or winter semester.

Councillors questioned in particular the committee’s decision about funding for the Debating Union. The group requested $13,500 and received $6,000, the largest amount allocated to any single club in the report. Debating Union Treasurer Michael Stepner noted that the club will have “some tough choices in the semester ahead as we decide how best to spend the money we have,” as the Union “is currently the largest it has ever been, and grew significantly this year.”

Conservative McGill requested $600 and received $145. SPHR received ten per cent of its requested $2,000. Justyn Teed, VP Finance for SPHR, said that the group was surprised at the amount, about $700 less than what SPHR received for the 2009-2010 academic year.

“SPHR is one of the most active clubs on campus. We host a lot of events here at McGill, we’re very active in co-sponsoring events with other campuses and in the greater Montreal region, and we do an enormous amount of outreach work as well,” said Teed.

“[The decrease in SSMU funding] is going to hurt our organization definitely. We’re going to have to either cut some of the initiatives we had planned or find alternative ways to get the funding we need,” added Teed.

In late October, the Concordia Student Union released a $92,000 club budget. Concordia’s The Link reported that the Muslim Students’ Association received the largest sum, at $8,000, while the Concordia chapter of SPHR received $6,000.

Knight explained that the discrepancies for some groups could be due to the fact that SSMU does not fund club requests for refreshments unless it is part of the group’s mandate, as with a culture-based group. She further stated that if a club is dissatisfied with the committee’s decision, the group “can appeal and explain why [the amount received] wasn’t fair.”

Money from the Campus Life Fund, Green Fund, and Ambassador Fund was also distributed, in addition to the Club Fund. Applications for funds other than the Club Fund have a rolling deadline.

Rad Frosh, Urban Grooves Dance Project, and the Arab Students’ Association will have to wait for their funding as their applications were incomplete and therefore postponed for later discussion.