Unregistered groups receive SA funding

Thirty-one student groups that are not registered with the Student Activities Center received funding from the Student Association this semester, even though registration with SAC is a prerequisite for receiving allocations, SA President Carrie Potter said.

The Medical Center Student Council and Protest THIS! are among the groups that have not registered, Potter said.

Changes to the student group registration process may have caused delays in registration for some groups, Potter said. She said the SA Senate’s Finance Committee has extended the registration deadline to Oct. 16.

Potter said she will make sure the groups are informed about the registration grace period. She said if they do not register by the deadline, their accounts will be frozen.

Potter said she also is concerned student groups may be confused about the three new funds that have replaced the SA’s co-sponsorship fund.

In the past, student groups petitioned the SA for financial support of individual events in addition to requesting an initial allocation from the SA.

Now groups that request money in addition to their normal allocation must request it from one of three funds designated for conferences, special events or special requests.

Although SA bylaws were changed to reflect the creation of the three separate funds in spring 1997, the SA Senate Finance Committee did not implement the changes until this year, Potter said.

The three funds should have been in place for student groups last year, immediately after the changes to the bylaws were passed, Potter said. She said the new funds have not been well-publicized by the committee and the application process for student groups is still fuzzy.

“The Finance Committee needs to develop how the three funds are going to work,” Potter said. “They need to provide detailed forms to fill out (for student groups), and they need to contact groups and explain which events on their budgets are special events and which aren’t.”

Finance Committee Chair J.P. Blackford (SEAS) said changes were not implemented last year because the SA Senate-elect already was working on an initial allocations bill when the funds were created in 1997.

“While the Senate was changing the bylaws, the Senate-elect was working under the old bylaws,” Blackford said. “There were basically two sets of 400-level bylaws at the time, so everybody decided to use the old ones.”

Blackford said the changes were made in part because the co-sponsorship fund had moved beyond its original purpose.

“The special events fund is really what the co-sponsorship fund was in the first place,” Blackford said. “But it got clouded and groups were coming to the fund for $100 here or $50 there, which was not the original intent.”

Potter said student group leaders have approached her with questions about which fund they should request money from for their events.

“There’s a lot of confusion,” Potter said. “If I’m group X and I’ve got $200 in my initial allocation, in three weeks when I hold an event, do I use the money from my initial allocation or do I apply for special events funding?”

The Finance Committee is developing a form for groups to fill out to request allocations from the funds, Blackford said. Until the form is completed, groups requesting funds must do so in a memo to the committee. He said student groups were told about the new funds at orientation workshops held at the beginning of the year, but his committee will help any group leaders who are confused.

“If a group has an activity and it isn’t sure what category it falls under, we’ll work with them,” he said.

Groups can request funding from the special events fund if the event has occurred previously on campus, Blackford said.

“Groups should know they are planning a large event like this,” Blackford said. “It should have occurred previously, this isn’t for events that come up out of the blue.”

The special request fund is set up to handle events that are unplanned, Blackford said. He said the fund is set up for groups to request allocations for events that come up during the year but were not planned originally, such as a guest speaker. He said the fund also can be used by new groups that weren’t budgeted money.

“An unbudgeted group can only apply for special requests once before being budgeted,” Blackford said. “The purpose of the fund is not to avoid going through the allocation process.”

The conference fund is meant to help defray the cost of sending group members to conferences. Blackford said this fund might be expanded to include tournaments that recreational sports teams attend.

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