EDITORIAL: Time to quit ignoring campus programming

Amidst university budget cuts, faculty cutbacks and an enrollment crisis, Central Michigan University has yet another problem on its hands: the Campus Programming Fund.

The CPF, which is funded by student tuition dollars, funds programs including the Student Government Association, Multicultural and Academic Student Services, Student Activities and Involvement, University Recreation, Greek Life and the Mary Ellen Brandell Volunteer Center. It is also used to pay the salary of Damon Brown, director of the Office of Student Activities and Involvement.

In 2001, the CPF budget was created. Then, it sat at $826, 172. This was the last time it was adjusted for inflation. This year, the budget totals $821,000.

Had it been adjusted for inflation, the fund would contain $1,089,726. As a result, CMU organizations have $268,726 less spending power than they did in 2001.

While these groups have grown in size and reach over the past decade, their allocated budget has not.

The last time a raise in CPF was requested was in 2002, when the request was denied due to the economy at the time. Since then, this is the first year anyone has looked into the issue.

SGA Vice President Patrick O'Connor has taken the initiative to create a committee, comprised of members from each organization that receives funding through the CPF, to investigate what, if any, effects the decreased fund has had on these groups.

Through this investigation, it will hopefully be determined why the fund has not been adjusted for more than 10 years.

And it's about time this situation gets figured out.

Yes, it's another duty added to the university's growing to-do list, but the CPF strikes right at the core of student involvement.

Every section of the funding goes directly to student activities and organizations, something that the university should hold as a high priority. After all, higher education, ahead of research, ahead of athletics, ahead of anything else, is about students.

But this does not mean the fund needs to be increased or adjusted every year, let alone every semester.

Since the average student enters and exits college in a 3-5 year timespan, this should be the appropriate amount of time before readjusting the CPF.

The university has missed on the opportunity to do just that three times in the past decade to adjust to the growing climate of the economy.

The university needs to be more vigilant in its allocations and where money is given.

One would be hard-pressed to find another portion of any university budget that is updated less than once per decade. More than any other area, the CPF could use an extra couple hundred grand.

The SGA, along with the other programs that are supported through the fund, are put together for the benefit of students. By hanging the fund out to dry, the university is essentially delivering that same treatment to its students.