SGA allocates funds for Speaker’s Committee
By biconews On 22 Feb, 2000 At 05:00 AM | Categorized As Archives | With 0 Comments

By Christine McCluskey

A one-time cost of $15,630.00 has been included in Bryn Mawr’s Self-Government Association’s spring budget for the new Speaker’s Committee. Jane Yoo ’01, Treasurer of SGA, said that because of a budget surplus of over $75,000 from last semester, she was able to give that sum of money to the fledgling Speaker’s Committee. The money would cover the cost of one prominent speaker.

The Speaker’s Committee was created in the fall of 1998 to bring bigger-name speakers to Bryn Mawr. Nora McGann ’02 is one of the two students on the Committee appointed to a two-year term in 1998. She said that she was surprised upon coming to Bryn Mawr at the lack of prominent speakers who come here, especially compared to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she had seen some well-known public figures speak (she is from Madison).

“It seemed that people cared about bringing speakers to campus, but that there was no money to bring them,” McGann said.

For the past year, the Speaker’s Committee has been gauging student interest in speakers. Working from surveys conducted last spring and at Fall Frolic, they tried to bring the most-often suggested names to campus. While some speakers would be inaccessible or too costly to bring to Bryn Mawr (McGann noted Maya Angelou as an example), a few looked promising. The Committee contacted them about speaking at Bryn Mawr.

The writer Kurt Vonnegut was one possibility, but because of recent injuries he probably won’t be able to come, said McGann. Instead, there is a good chance that the civil rights activist Angela Davis could speak here next semester.

Although the money is budgeted for this semester, McGann said she would probably not be able to bring Davis or anyone else to campus before the fall, which could cause a problem. According to Yoo, if a club or organization does not spend the money they are given for a semester, that money “disappears and becomes part of the overall surplus” which is how the $15,630 for Speaker’s Committee was made in the first place. $110,373.92 was budgeted for the fall of 1999, and only $36,870.47 was spent, creating a huge surplus. Allocating money for the Speaker’s Committee is the first small step in spending it. If the Committee cannot bring a speaker to Bryn Mawr this semester, the money will go back into the surplus. As SGA has no plans for funding the Committee in the future, that could signal the end of any funding for the Committee.

Some students at last week’s SGA meeting suggested moving the budgeting period to the semester before the semester for using the money rather than making groups budget money for the current semester. In this way, clubs and organizations such as the Speaker’s Committee would have more time to plan their events.

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