The Student Government Association (SGA)’s $20,000 diversity and inclusion grant budget has been largely unspent this academic year due to disruption caused by COVID-19, according to SGA Treasurer Ronald Babiak.
This academic year’s allocation to the SGA’s Diversity and Inclusion Grant Committee was $20,000. So far, $1,200 of the allocation has been spent, leaving $18,800 unspent and unused.
According to Seton Hall’s website on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, “the University created a line item in the FY20 budget for an additional $20,000 for student-planned activities during Black History, Hispanic Latino History, Women's History, and Islamic History months and other multi-cultural celebrations.”
The $1,200 was allocated to the SHU Women in Business club in February for a bootcamp the club hosted.
According to the Diversity and Inclusion Grant Request Form on the Seton Hall website, the purpose of the Diversity and Inclusion Grant Committee is to fund and allocate “student organization events relating to the celebration of diversity and inclusion including but not limited to the fields of culture, religion, gender, and other diverse aspects of identity as they relate to the mission and vision of Seton Hall University.”
SGA leadership plans to spend the allocation for speakers to discuss aspects of diversity and inclusion, Babiak said.
Babiak said he believes that this “would be pertinent to the student body with the goal of educating attendees.”
The process for getting funding from the Diversity and Inclusion Committee starts with a funding request and is followed by a presentation by the organization. After, the committee decides whether or not to grant the request or to revise the allotment.
Babiak has the final say in what should be done with the funding, but he said he believes decisions about funding should be made with the leadership of SGA and the committee itself.
The committee is working with Colleen Dallavalle, an SGA advisor, on ways to allocate the funding by the end of the academic year.
“I wanted to democratize this process, listening to a wide range of opinions and perspectives in order to develop the best plan possible,” Babiak said.
The grant was started by former SGA Treasurer Divine Tanamal ‘20 and Ronald Babiak.
“Because of the Concerned 44 protests a couple of years ago, it was evident that students wanted more multicultural programming to take place on campus,” Babiak said. “Seton Hall University allotted funding to SGA in order to serve that purpose.”
For the past three years, the diversity and inclusion grant has been given to SGA by the Office of Student Engagement.
At the end of each academic year, SGA does not keep the money from the Diversity and Inclusion Grant, Babiak said.
“It is returned to the Office of Student Engagement and reallocated to the committee’s budget by the start of the subsequent academic year,” Babiak said.
Jasmine DeLeon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org