Lecture panel’s funding may shift

BY ALLIE WRIGHT | APRIL 12, 2011 7:20 AM

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The University of Iowa organization in charge of bringing comedians, authors, and politicians to campus may soon ask a different office for money.

The University Lecture Committee is the only Presidential Charter Committee receiving funding allocated by the UI Student Government and the UI Executive Council of Graduate and Professional Students. Under a proposed change, those funds may no longer be allocated through the student governments.

In a letter presented to UI Vice President for Student Services Tom Rocklin on Monday, UISG and the Executive Council requested the Lecture Committee no longer be recognized as a “collaboratively funded organization.” The governments also asked that the committee’s funding be removed from the student-activities-fee budget.

“Student leaders in UISG and the Executive Council have held several meetings together and, additionally, have spoken directly with leadership of [the Lecture Committee],” the letter said.

“These discussions have brought to light a number of issues and concerns that need to be addressed.”

The letter criticizes the Lecture Committee for not tracking its accounting using a computer program called OrgSync and for not using the Student Organization Business Office, both requirements for all other student organizations.

“How do you make [a group] follow the rules if it is not technically under the umbrella of those rules?” said Donna Lancianese, the vice president of the Executive Council.

Rocklin, who must approve the budget, will meet with the Executive Council and UISG in two weeks for a follow-up.

If Rocklin approves the request, the Lecture Committee’s funding will be allocated by his office.

Lyndsay Harshman, the president of the Executive Council, said the Lecture Committee will essentially receive the same amount of funding, and it will come from the same account, it will just be allocated in a different way.

“We realized again this year the Lecture Committee is unique from our other [collaboratively funded organization], and sometimes that brings problems in the way we fund it,” she said.

In the proposed fiscal 2012 budget, the Lecture Committee is recommended to receive $111,300, a 5 percent increase over 2011.

“I think it’s a very well-thought-out proposal,” Rocklin said at the meeting. He could not be reached for further comment.

The UISG and the Executive Council requested “the funding shall be the previous fiscal year’s funding plus the one-half the increase in the [student-activities fee].”

And because that fee increases every year, the allocations would also be adjusted.

“We’re not cutting its funding, we’re shifting its funding,” said UISG President John Rigby.

UISG and the Executive Council also requested that the Lecture Committee be considered a non-collaboratively funded organization for at least five years.

A spokesman for the Lecture Committee refused to comment on the issue.

“I think it would make [committee people] happier,” Lancianese said.

The cap of the collaboratively funded organization budget is $701,759, but the governments are requesting $705,824 to fund 11 organizations. The increase comes after such groups as the Bijou and the Crisis Center said they needed more funds.

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