GUSA Senate approves long-anticipated GUSA Fund, giving clubs a way to circumnavigate SAC

After years of clashing with SAC and bandying about the possibility of GUSA-sponsored club funding, the GUSA Senate passed a bill yesterday afternoon creating a GUSA Fund which will allow GUSA to provide an alternative mode of funding for clubs.

Longtime SAC-critic Nick Troiano (COL ’11—Village A A-D) introduced the bill, which would create “the Fund” to “[serve] as a resource for the Georgetown community by co-sponsoring events and activities that are initiated by or benefit students.”

The Fund will consist of five members nominated by GUSA President Calen Angert (MSB ’11) and confirmed by the Senate. The Fund will meet once a week to consider applications for funds received through an online application.

The Fund will be able up to $500 per organization, event or initiative, but the Senate must approve any requested allocation over $500. The Fund will only be able to give money to groups that have already been granted access to benefits through SAC, and organizations receiving money from the Fund will have to “make it known” that GUSA has co-sponsored the event.

Where will money for the Fund be coming from?  According to Troiano, GUSA will seek to gain about $30,000 from the Funding Board’s $69,000 surplus.

Troiano said the Fund should be ready to allocate funding by December or the start of next semester.

To make this new funding structure more legitimate, Colton Malkerson (COL ’13—Harbin 2-5) authored an additional resolution affirming the Senate’s power over the Funding Board.

His resolution reiterates the Student Association Accountability & Reform Amendment to the GUSA constitution, passed by referendum of the student body in 2006, which says:

The Senate shall have the plenary power to appropriate all Student Association funds, including the aggregate funds from the Student Activities Fee, among the agencies, funding boards, organizations and initiatives it deems fit, including its own annual Operating Budget.

While Troiano said that “the theory and purpose behind the Fund is not to compete with any existing funding board,” he later added, “We want to try and lead and show the other funding boards that this is an example of a streamlined, transparent, accountable and efficient way to allocate money to clubs.”

He said the current process is “increasingly bureaucratic,” and it burdens student organizations. He said the purpose of the Fund is to provide an additional avenue of funding.

Additionally, Troiano said the Fund is a temporary measure until GUSA achieves its other reforms to the funding process.

To that, Josh Mogil (SFS ’11—Off Campus) asked, “If we don’t achieve that reform, would it be in our power to replace SAC with this funding board?”

Troiano first said “replace” was a strong word and the Fund was only meant to provide alternative funding. He then reminded Mogil that SAC is able to grant access to benefits to clubs, with GUSA cannot. Therefore, the Fund can only give money to clubs that are already granted access to benefits through SAC.

When Mogil asked why it was not in GUSA’s power to grant access to benefits, Speaker Adam Talbot (COL ’12—LXR) said the question was not relevant to the bill and redirected the discussion.

The Fund has been a long time in the making and represents a key campaign promise of Angert and GUSA Vice President Jason Kluger (MSB ’11).

“As we were running, a lot of students came up to us and asked us a) what does GUSA do… and [b)] why is my club not receiving the funding it needs,” Angert said. “And those are two big concerns… so that was the impetus behind the GUSA Fund itself.”

13 Comments on “GUSA Senate approves long-anticipated GUSA Fund, giving clubs a way to circumnavigate SAC

  1. Just to clarify:

    I think, in reading it (and having worked on the issue in the past) that the Access to Benefits issue is slightly different.

    1. The GUSA Fund can give money to clubs, but they must then still have their event approved by SAC to ensure it complies with Access to Benefits.

    2. The GUSA Fund can give money to individuals and initiatives under the aegis of GUSA, under the same terms as if GUSA were to sponsor the initiative or event. SAC approval is not required (although the event/initiative must still follow A2B). In this way, it’s almost exactly like the ReImagine Georgetown grant.

    Regarding 2, this has happened in the past, for example with the “Supper with the Jesuits” banquet in 2008. There, GUSA provided money to hold a banquet in Copley Formal Lounge with about a dozen Jesuits, to get to know them. Registering for classrooms, etc. has to go through GUSA, but was otherwise at arms length with the event.

  2. Good job GUSA, although this is hopefully just a first step towards comprehensive reform of the funding system. Requiring SAC to still approve events can be tricky, sometimes a club will see a really great opportunity (a last minute speaker, presentation, etc) pop up at the last minute, yet SAC won’t always approve it.

  3. Thanks should go to all Senators who contributed to this debate. This is a great piece of legislation which will help foster and supplement Student Life on campus.

  4. This approach will just make it more difficult for clubs to get funding. Un-organized clubs complain about SAC funding and that they don’t have access to money on a whim…they will stay disorganized and will still struggle getting approval for things. Now clubs will not only have to go to SAC but ALSO GUSA? Let’s not start pretending like GUSA is effective…or should be setting an example for anyone.

  5. While some clubs are certainly disorganized, SAC arbitrarily enforces its own rules to the point where clubs don’t know what to do. Say a well organized club is approached by a respectable speaker at the last minute. Normally, SAC won’t fund or even APPROVE this event. GUSA is hopefully the first step towards the systematic reform of SAC

  6. You’re misreading the article.

    Clubs don’t have to go to SAC and GUSA to get funds. Clubs have the ABILITY to go to SAC -OR- GUSA to get funds.

    This isn’t taking a single cent away from SAC’s allocation; this is all funds that would otherwise go unused.

    All this GUSA Fund is doing is providing a supplementary option for clubs. We hope it will be more transparent, accountable and efficient. Clubs can submit funding requests on a Friday, get heard and approved on Saturday and have the funds in their account Monday morning.

    Clubs are under no obligation to come to GUSA. But with the simplified, streamlined procedures, I don’t see why they wouldn’t want to.

  7. I agree with GU and am really disappointed that this does not have enough teeth. I was optimistic about this and would like an explanation on why GUSA can only give money to SAC clubs. Why can Reimagine Georgetown do that and not the GUSA Fund? This seems more like a way for GUSA to try to take some power away from SAC rather than a new method to fundamentally change the funding process for the better.

  8. On my reading, the GUSA Fund can give money to individuals with good ideas, but with the proviso that it is under the aegis of GUSA. This is because GUSA can give money for individual projects.

    All events or groups on campus must follow the ‘Access to Benefits’ policy in order to get money. See here: http://studentaffairs.georgetown.edu/policies.html#AccesstoBenefits

    GUSA must follow A2B, but doesn’t need approval from anyone in advance. Ditto with some other groups like the Lecture Fund, or the Hoya & the Voice itself (it doesn’t have to run each article by the Media Board — but it can’t sell ads to condom manufacturers or abortion clinics).

    Groups under SAC, however, must receive approval for every event under the current policy SAC pursues. So even if they get GUSA money, they still need to run the events by SAC to get approval. I think it’s stupid and inefficient, personally, as do most people and clubs, I’m sure. But that’s the current situation.

    So, GUSA can give money to SAC clubs (who would still need to get SAC approval) as well as individuals or non-SAC groups for initiatives or events (who do not need to get SAC approval). In giving money to unofficial groups or persons, it still must follow the A2B policy. So the GUSA Fund can’t give money to Hoyas for Choice, for example.

    As for ReImagine Georgetown — it’s funded by the Corp, which is an independent corporation unaffiliated with Georgetown. It’s the same as me handing out money — I can do whatever the fuck I please with my money.

    So, presuming that it doesn’t violate A2B, I could feasibly see the GUSA Fund being able to give money to an individual or individuals to finance a printed satirical newsletter (just as one example, cough cough). I don’t see how it’s any different from GUSA funding the “Georgetown Forever” movie several years ago. As long as it states it’s being sponsored by GUSA.

  9. Gotcha.

    Printed satirical newsletter? What are you talking about? Why would someone want to get that sort of thing funded?

  10. Way to go GUSA! Step by step, we’re going to solve the student activities funding problem. This is the first part of a long-term solution where clubs can be flexible, nimble, creative in putting on activities (the purpose of clubs in the first place) and not in jumping through hoops and playing Simon Says to get a few pizzas.

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