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.”