Unfair treatment from SFC holds NAE funds back

Unfair+treatment+from+SFC+holds+NAE+funds+back

Olivia Helka

Northern Arts and Entertainment (NAE) met with the Student Finance Committee (SFC) to ask for funding for this semester. During this meeting, NAE was denied an increase in allocation or a carry forward to put toward this semester’s event. The SFC told the other student organizations that enrollment was down so they would be receiving an increase in allocation or their carry forward, NAE was denied both. This is not the first time NAE has been treated unfairly when asking for funding. 

NAE has been a student organization for over 20 years here at NMU. NAE is funded by the student activity fee and works to put on events every semester. In order to do so, NAE meets with the SFC every semester to ask for funding for the following semester.

As president of NAE, I am the one who handles this process. This semester’s event gave NAE a carry forward of $11,300. This money was left over allocation from the Student Activity Fee that every student pays into. 

Earlier in the fall semester, student organizations were told there was an excess of $68,268.55 that was available to be used. This is funding that students are paying for but is not getting used. NAE decided that they would not ask for any extra funds and just wait until the end of the semester to ask for a carry forward of the remaining money in the account. 

During this meeting, NAE asked for the allocation to remain the same at $5 per student and the carry forward for the upcoming event. Former ASNMU President Cody Mayer told the NAE members after deliberation, “The SFC feels that NAE will do just fine without the carry forward, so we are absorbing it.” 

While they denied NAE, they gave the Student Events Committee an increase in allocation without asking, Northern Michigan Arts Discovery (NOMAD) their carry forward, Students’ Art Gallery (SAG) a carry forward, Campus Cinema both a carry forward and increase and Platform Personalities a carry forward. Why these student organizations were all approved for extra funding, but NAE was denied baffled the members of the NAE organization. 

Shortly after this, a member of the SFC approached a member of NAE and told us that they are placing roughly $11,000 on hold for us because they are sure NAE would be in debt next semester. 

If enrollment for winter semester is down and they are worried about funding, why wouldn’t they treat all student orgs the same and give NAE an increase in allocation or the carry forward?

Also if they know we are going into debt, why wouldn’t they just give NAE the funds that were already in the bank account? NAE is the only student organization who uses ticket sales to make back the money borrowed, and without a decent allocation, NAE cannot book names that students want to see. NAE is always asked during these meetings why we are not bringing larger acts, but due to student population and funding reasons, larger acts are not in the budget. 

NAE is given roughly $30,000 for a semester show, which gives $15,000 for an act and $15,000 for whatever else is needed for a production. Most large name bands, singers, or performers that you hear on the radio are $50,000 or more just for the person themselves. 

Because of location, NAE cannot fill a venue large enough to cover all expenses of a show that big. While we try our best, we can only do so much with what we are given. Many times, we have proposed a larger increase or a carry forward to bring acts like Lizzo, BlackBear, T-pain, AJR, All Time Low and many more, but NAE is denied funding every time and is forced to go with smaller artists and stay in debt.

If NAE was given the funds, we would be able to make the student population happy because that is our focus, and we want to make sure that the student activity fee that students are paying into is being used for events that they want to attend. 

While the events from the past few years have not been positive, NAE has pulled through and tried to make a come back. As we all know, travel is hard in the U.P., especially for people who have never been here before. NAE is working hard for an event this semester that will bring artists that students want, and prove the SFC wrong. 

NAE meets Wednesdays at 6 p.m. The location for the semester is being determined.

Olivia Helka is the president of NAE and a senior, English writing major.