The planned GUSA Fund would make it rain
Leaders from all six advisory boards voted against creating the GUSA Fund at a Funding Board meeting today, but the Finance and Appropriations Committee will still be able to pass the GUSA Fund through the Funding Board without their approval.
At the meeting, advisory board leaders voiced concerns that GUSA would not have the knowledge to run the GUSA Fund. They asked what kind of experience the GUSA Fund members would have, how GUSA would know if events were duplicities of events that already existed, and how the GUSA Fund would handle clubs that went over budget.
GUSA senators also learned at the meeting that the Funding Board has $51,412 in reserve, unlike $69,687 like they had previously believed. The GUSA Fund plans to draw $30,000 from that reserve, meaning the GUSA Fund will now require more than half.
GUSA Speaker Adam Talbot (COL ’12—LXR) said the GUSA executive will be looking for GUSA fund members who can bring both funding experience and club management experience. In regards to event duplicities, Finance and Appropriations Chair Nick Troiano (COL ’11—Village A, A-D) replied that because of access to benefits, advisory boards would still need to approve official club-sponsored events before the GUSA Fund could allocate funds.
Advisory board members suggested this would make an already tedious process even more bureaucratic.
“Clubs are looking for funds, and they’re willing to jump through hoops to get it,” GUSA Chief of Staff Tim Swenson replied. “While we’re trying to make it as streamlined as possible …. this is our way of addressing that temporarily.” [Edited at 10:21 p.m.]
Advisory board members were particularly concerned that the resolution would require them to reduce their reserves to 10 percent of their yearly allocation. Advisory board members argued that this rule would endanger the existence of many expensive events and activities that rely on reserve funds, such as large concerts put on by the GPB, Relay for Life which needs CSJ’s yearly loan, and student media, which has dug deep into Media Board reserves during times of low revenue. Under questioning by Nick Calta (COL ‘10), chair of the Advisory Board for Club Sports, Troiano admitted the 10 percent figure was “a bit arbitrary.”
Advisory board members expressed concern that all the boards were being treated equally, even though they each had different processes and needs. They asked that GUSA look into their individual yearly budgets.
The meeting was planned to last an hour, but it was not until around the one and half hour mark that the Finance and Appropriations Committee brought up the comprehensive club funding reform GUSA passed yesterday.
Many advisory board members had left by that time, so the Funding Board did not have time to discuss the other five requirements at length. Around the two-hour mark, Nick Troiano briefly mentioned Malkerson’s draft legislation to strip advisory board members of their votes, but advisory board members did not have a chance to respond.
The Funding Board allocates money to student activities and is made up of the seven senators on the GUSA Finance and Appropriations Committee, along with one representative from each of the advisory boards: SAC, the Center for Social Justice Advisory Board, Media Board, the Performing Arts Advisory Council, the Advisory Board for Club Sports, and the Georgetown Program Board.
The first time the Funding Board considers an allocation, it must be approved by unanimous vote. If the allocation fails to achieve a unanimous vote, the Funding Board must meet again after 10 days, and the next time the Funding Board votes, the allocation only needs to be approved by a simple majority.
Therefore, even though all advisory board members voted no, the seven GUSA senators have the votes to create the GUSA Fund once the Funding Board reconvenes, despite disapproval from the six advisory board leaders.
The Funding Board must will reconvene in the next 10 days to reconsider the GUSA Fund and discuss GUSA’s demands further.