By Jon Roe
The Students’ Union is using Quality Money to patch up a hole in their Bermuda Shorts Day budget caused by a number of issues, including the recession and a change of location. Though this is a fine temporary fix, to call for money for the next three years of BSDs is only encouraging fiscal irresponsibility by future generations of SU executives.
At worst, the budget deficit could be as high as $48,000 this year and the SU is calling for $30,000 a year for three years.
This year is an exception. The SU has been trying to hash out a location for months with the university (it’s still up in the air) and the student response to the new location and recent belt tightening is unpredictable. But it makes little sense to continue relying on the crutch of Quality Money next year and the year after as well, when the location hopefully will be finalized earlier and perhaps the economy will have started to rebound.
Instituting this plan for three years only further encourages reliance on Quality Money to patch up BSD’s budget. Three years from now, it will be tradition to use Quality Money to fund BSD and with the turnover as high as it is in the Students’ Union, it is unlikely that anyone will remember this was originally intended as a temporary fix. A one-year Quality Money lease, renewed as needed, is more likely to convey this message.
The amount is not insignificant to the total cost of the event. The budget for BSD is around $130,000 this year and the Quality Money patch is nearly a quarter of the budget. There would need to be a large leap in revenues in a short period of time in order to cover the Quality Money, which seems like a bit of a stretch. Quality Money might still prove necessary years from now.
If BSD is doing as poorly as the worst projections, perhaps it needs to be further evaluated and changed or scaled back. Though SU president Dalmy Baez was reluctant to float the idea of charging for wristbands, a nominal charge doesn’t seem that out of the question, considering the enormous costs that go into the event. Since students will effectively be charged for the event through their tuition via quality money now anyway, it makes more sense that only students who want to take part should pay (especially because BSD is, as Social Sciences faculty representative Teale Phelps Bondaroff puts it, a party).
Baez is right that it is well within the quality money mandate to fund BSD, as it is probably the most well known of any “community building” event on campus. But BSD is, after all, a beer-fueled party that often plays host to students decorating the entire campus with semi-digested $5 beers. Perhaps it isn’t the best thing to prop up as a Quality Money initiative next to other successes like co-curricular records.
When the Student Legislative Council meets next Tuesday to discuss this proposal, they need to think long and hard about the long-term implications of guaranteeing this money for the next three years.