April 21, 2020

The Student Government Association (SGA) senate met last Thursday to discuss three bills which would make alterations to the club funding process. While the three bills were authored independently, the goals of each bill are intended to function concurrently. 

     Senate has not voted on the bills yet and intends to revisit discussion at their next meeting. 

     If passed, senate bill SB-34 would restrict club access to the SGA Carryforward fund, which consists of unspent funding from the Student Activity Fee (SAF) fund from previous fiscal years. This leftover money is moved over into the Carryforward fund at the end of each academic year. 

     Clubs have been given the opportunity to request funding from the Carryforward fund in recent years. This funding is separate from the Budget Advisory Committee (BAC) funding process, which currently allows clubs access to up to $3,000 per academic year. 

     By allowing access to the Carryforward fund, SGA has supported clubs with larger financial requests. Without access to the Carryforward fund, clubs with extensive financial needs will need to scope out other avenues for financing.  

     Author of the bill, Senator of LAS and Speaker of the Senate Aidan Meadows believes the way the Carryforward fund has been allocated to registered clubs is unsustainable. “We have no idea how much money is going to come into the Carryforward [fund] year after year and every single year we see a massive depletion at the start of the semester, especially from a lot of the bigger clubs coming and club sports coming who need a lot more money to supplement their club. They come in with these rather large bills and take away a lot of money in the Carryforward [fund] which leaves very little for any SGA projects,” Meadows said. 

     According to the bill, “The intention of the Carryforward fund is that it is to be used by SGA for SGA activities and initiatives.” However, it is not immediately clear what specific plans SGA has for this fund or how this money will go towards benefiting the student body.

     Senate also intends to change the name of the Carryforward fund, but will revisit new name options at their next meeting.

     Senate bill SB-32 proposes changes to the SGA Funding Guidelines to support clubs if they lose access to the Carryforward fund. Clubs would be able to request up to $5,000 through the BAC process, an increase from the $3,000 they are currently permitted.  

     The power to allocate BAC funding would also be extended to the BAC committee. Currently, senate hears all BAC requests and approves funding.  

     If SB-32 is passed, senate would only hear BAC recommendations if the request is fully or partially denied by the committee. Members of the club would also be required to attend this meeting; club attendance is currently only recommended.  

     Senate bill SB-33 would alter the SGA Constitutional Bylaws to account for the altered funding process proposed in SB-32.   

     Senate did not make a motion on any of the three bills last Thursday. They will meet again on Apr. 23 at 7 p.m. MST to continue discussion and potentially vote on the bills.  

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