The Joint Finance Committee (JFC), the arm of Student Government Association (SGA) in charge of funding-request regulations for chartered student organizations, is proposing to make six line-item changes to its governing policy.
The changes were sparked, in part, by an audit of SGA last year, that discovered that some funds had been dispersed to a student unaffiliated with any approved organizations within the last five years.
The student had claimed to be a member of a chartered, on campus organization; however, the money was not going to the organization in any manner.
Along with addressing the security issues of allocating funds to nonexistent entities, the audit brought to light a number of other procedural issues that affect all three levels of the student organization tier system.
The six proposed JFC policy changes include requiring a meeting between the JFC and two officers of the organization requesting funds in order to present their funding request rather than just one organizational representative; increasing hourly wages of employees in organizations to minimum wage; changing the rates per mile of travel funded so that it will automatically adjust to the IRS Standard Business Mileage Rate (ISBMR); eliminating the maximum number of organization members allowed to attend a conference using Student Activity Fee (SAF) funds; replacing annual reports from tier I and tier II organizations with semi-annual reports and requiring that there be yearly “introduction meetings” between the new vice president of finance and tier I and tier II organizations.
The JFC’s tier system is used to determine Student Activity Fee (SAF) allocations to different organizations at Tech. Tier I organizations, such as the CRC and the Student Center Operations Board, are designated as “highest priority organizations” and have precedence over tier II and tier III organizations for SAF funds.
Tier II organizations, including SGA, DramaTech and Student Publications amongst others, are second in priority for SAF funding. These groups are defined as organizations or governing boards whose primary focuses are providing information or services that substantially impact the entire student body.
The policy changes emphasize amplifying the transparency level between SGA and the tier I and tier II organizations.
“[The changes] increase communication really between the student government and the tier I and tier II organizations to establish relationships that are much more beneficial and making sure that the money that we distribute to them is actually being spent in the way that we agreed upon,“ said Matthew Cauble, SGA’s vice president of finance and JFC chair.
Tier III organizations contain all other student organizations on campus that are not categorized as tier I or tier II. These include organizations such as the Paintball Club and Dance Marathon. These organizations receive the lowest priority for SAF funds out of all the tiers.
“The travel and the conferences [changes] will affect tier III the most because that’s who requests it the most,” Cauble said.
The changes made to the travel policies will have no affect on the current travel funding rates. The conference policy changes will allow more members of an organization to travel with SAF funding.
“The thing with the travel is that we kind of just wanted to make it standard instead of having to go back and adjust it every couple of years when the federal rate changes,” Cauble said.
The current policy restricts the number of funded members to four. There will still be an $800 limit on conference expenses, however.
“These changes that we’ve made right now are more bookkeeping and keeping up with the way that things have kind of been run. Some of the things on here we’ve actually been doing, but we haven’t been implementing it as a policy. Such as the two organization reps, anytime I send an email for that, I ask for two organization reps anyways,” Cauble said.
“This year actually over the summer and just before school started, I met with the heads of the CRC and the Student Center and kind of did all that stuff. So we’ve actually used this instead of using some theoretical policy,” Cauble said. “It’s something that we’ve tried and it’s worked so far so we just figured we need to put it into policy. Then, we might do a little more reviewing and see what other policies we can adjust that are little bit more controversial.”
The six suggested policy changes will be reviewed at the next Student Activities Committee (SAC) meeting on Wednesday, March 10.
SAC members will then choose to either approve or deny the measures suggested by JFC.