April 28, 2020

The Student Government Association (SGA) senate met remotely last Thursday to approve significant changes to club funding restrictions in front of a notable—virtual—public audience. They also reviewed the proposed budget for next fiscal year and approved one Appointment Advisory Committee (AAC) recommendation.  

     The funding changes are outlined in three senate bills which were all approved unanimously.  

Senate bill SB-32, authored by Student Director of Finance Raven Chavez-Maltby, proposed changes to the funding guidelines governing document.  

     The new version of the document permits registered UCCS clubs to receive up to $5,000 through the Budget Advisory Committee (BAC) funding process. Formerly, clubs could only receive up to $3,000 through BAC. 

     Conference and travel expense requests have also been separated into two categories. Formerly, the combined category had a cap of $2,000, whereas now, that cap only applies to the travel category. This grants clubs more flexibility with their funding.  

     Also authored by Chavez-Maltby, senate bill SB-33 has proposed changes to the SGA Bylaws in accordance with a new BAC funding process. The BAC, which will consist of the director of finance and up to nine senators, will have the power to allocate club funding.  

     Formerly, senate members would vote as the final step in the BAC funding process. Next school year, however, they will only hear BAC recommendations if the BAC committee fully or partially denies a request.  

     Senate bill SB-34, authored by Senator of LAS and Speaker of the House Aidan Meadows, restricts registered club access to the Carryforward fund.  

     This fund consists of leftover money in the Student Activity Fee (SAF) fund from prior school years. Until recently, clubs have had the opportunity to write bills requesting funding from the Carryforward fund if their expenses exceed the BAC limit.  

     As a result of SB-34, registered clubs will not be able to request funding from the Carryforward fund. According to the bill, the Carryforward fund is intended for SGA projects and initiatives. 

     Senate is also able to transfer money between funds. “If the Carryforward fund starts to accumulate all this money and we have a surplus over what we actually need and what SGA uses, SGA has the power to move money between funds of any amount whenever we want,” Meadows said. “[We] could always move extra money from that Carryforward [fund] into the BAC fund.” 

     Senate will also keep the name “Carryforward” for this fund, despite a former report claiming that senate intended to change the name. 

     The vote took place following questions and concerns from numerous members of the student body.  

     Some students had concerns about the proposed Carryforward restrictions. “I know, as a club sport we do ask for a lot of funds,” said President of Club Figure Skating, Thomas Schwappach. “We did go through the [Carryforward] process and that would have helped out a lot.”  

     However, he recognized the initiative to balance the funding restrictions. “Raising BAC from $3,000 to $5,000—I think that is a good compromise and I think that continues to help out a lot of club sports so I really thank you guys for that,” Schwappach said. 

     The bills were approved unanimously and the changes outlined in each of these three bills will take effect June 1 of this year. 

     Senate also reviewed the SGA Fiscal Year 21 Budget, SB-36. This bill outlined the allocation of $316,959 for organizations and branches of SGA. Senate discussed the bill for an hour, extensively reviewing line items such as riverrun, Ent Center for the Arts and SGA Judicial Board. Following discussion, senate voted to revisit the bill at their next meeting.  

     Former Senator-at-large Maria Bynes was also voted into a justice position as the final step of the AAC process to appoint members of SGA.  

     The senate meetings are conducted virtually on the Zoom platform at 7 p.m. MST every Thursday. The meeting code for each meeting is embedded in the senate meeting agenda which can be found on Mountain Lion Connect.