In order to combat the national debt crisis, Washington has passed a law that will enact nationwide cuts to businesses, organizations and even the salary of President Barack Obama. The law, known as The Budget Control Act of 2011, came into effect on March 1, and Knox has not gone unscathed.
From federal programs such as TRIO to budgeting for next year’s clubs, students and staff are feeling the pressure and looking for places to make the most logical cuts while staying committed to crucial programs.
“[We want to stay] as close and as true to the principles as possible,” TRIO Achievement Program Director Risa Lopez said. “Those principles are: ‘Retention to graduation, good academic performance, and to develop a sense of community.’”
TRIO receives $15,000 from Knox, $30,000 from the federal grant, and an additional $45,000 in additional financial aid. The TRIO Achievement Program is facing a 5.2 percent budget decrease.
Lopez says that while it may not sound like a lot, that money would typically be spent on salaries for personnel. As a result, the area that faces big cuts are student services.
Senate treasurer junior Shelly Bhanot echoed this statement during the mandatory finance meetings for clubs that took place last Monday and Wednesday.
“We are making cuts in all the [club budgets],” Bhanot said. Like many others who will be considering finances for next year, Bhanot and her team will be looking for the best places to make cuts. It is not expected that any club will be unable to operate due to the cuts. However, the cuts will be felt.
Many club leaders expressed their concern over the reduced budgets. Japanese Club co-president sophomore Bethany Larson is worried that the ability of Japanese Club to put on cultural events could be limited.
“We’re already putting in requests for extra funds,” Larson said.
“There is no more painless cutting,” Lopez said. “[The cuts are] going to come from services that students will likely feel.”
While many express their concerns and displeasure with having to lose events and other services, most feel optimistic. From the club leaders to the TRIO Achievement Program, the general consensus is that, while things may be difficult, they will persevere.
“We’re not running in the red,” Lopez said. “We’re just trying to figure out how we can plan ahead so that we’re functioning by the end of the year and heading in the right direction.”