USG establishes new funding policies
Published: Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 23:02
The Undergraduate Student Government Senate met last night and voted to adopt a new set of funding policies and allocated $26,178.54 to six on-campus organizations.
USG has a $26,874.84 “reserve fund” that can be given to on-campus organizations, through legislative request, to fund events throughout the semester that were not requested in the normal budget process.
The senators voted to pass a new set of funding policies that would put in place new spending caps that require the Senate to automatically cut down requests in certain areas like travel and catering to a specific threshold. The policy also requires Tier II on-campus organizations that are able to apply for funds to prepare legislation two weeks before it will be heard in front of the Senate, and amended, approved or denied so that the funding board is able to ensure the application and paperwork is completed.
Senate Funding Board Chair John Giardina said the new spending caps are put in place to ensure that the funds are not spent recklessly.
“The spending caps will help us get more groups funded,” Giardina said. “Last semester, we cut a lot of groups due to lack of funds.”
The new rules, however, will not be enacted until the next Senate meeting.
Wednesday night, the senate allocated $10,000 to the a capella group ConnMen to help fund their trip to New York to record an album and produce 300 copies, which the group plans to distribute to students at the University for free.
An additional $3,200 was allocated to the club boxing team to fund a coach, $2,281.80 to the Triathlon Club to help fund a trip to the USA Triathlon National Championship, $223.80 to the Dressage team to help fund a competition at UMass and $857.94 to the Medical Humanitarian Society to help fund their attendance at a conference at Yale.
The co-ed fraternity Pi Sigma Epsilon was given $9,615 out of the $22,000 it will need to travel to a convention in San Diego, where the group will compete for nine awards.
Though senators said they felt Wednesday’s Senate meeting went more smoothly than the last meeting two weeks ago, frustration over the confusion and length of debate continued to grate on some senators’ nerves.
“We need to streamline this [funding process],” Senator Neel Rana said. “We have to focus less on the accolades of the group and more on policy. And the senators who sponsor it need to do your job, not support your personal preference.”
Senator Kevin Alvarez, who represents Northwest, said he disagreed.
“We should think about the merits of it. We are elected for our judgments as well. We should spend time thinking about what we are actually funding,” Alvarez said.
Senators expect further efforts to streamline the funding process will be discussed at the Senate’s caucus next Wednesday.
Giardina said he was proud of the way this week’s meeting went.
“This [week] we had requests that followed the reasons we have requests: they requested funds that couldn’t have been anticipated. They were great opportunities [for groups] that they just didn’t know about,” Giardina said.
Out of the $26,178.54 that was allocated to the six groups, $22,978.54 will come out of the reserve fund, leaving $3,896.30 to be allocated to other groups throughout the semester. Though the reserve fund does have the potential to accumulate more money, should Tier II organizations return funds they do not use.
Comptroller Edward Courchaine said he thinks the Senate will have to get better at saying “no.”
“You have to figure out how and when to say ‘no,’” Couchraine said to the senators at the end of the meeting. “We don’t have unlimited funds."