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Saturday, May 25, 2024
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SA eyes supplemental club funding reform

The SA Senate failed to approve a new supplemental funding system Wednesday but will likely pass a policy next week

SA Senate meetings broken down by meeting length and number of supplemental funding requests.
SA Senate meetings broken down by meeting length and number of supplemental funding requests.

A policy that would introduce a formula for awarding undergraduate clubs supplemental funding failed to pass at the Student Association (SA) Senate Wednesday night, but is likely to emerge in an updated form at the body’s next meeting.

The Supplemental Funding Policy, as it was introduced Wednesday night, would have scrapped the multi-channel system SA currently uses in favor of a unified policy. Currently, supplemental funding — discretionary funding SA provides to clubs in addition to their budgets — is awarded by three different entities, depending on the type of club. 

“Tier 1” clubs — clubs with no budget, typically in their first year — may request supplemental funding from SA’s vice president. Other clubs may request funding from council coordinators — SA employees who lead groups of particular kinds of clubs — or from the SA Senate.

Supplemental funding requests make up much of the Senate’s workload and often add an hour or more to the length of a Senate meeting. The additional time spent deliberating on funding decisions has pushed out other Senate functions, such as advocacy, Senator Joe McCusker said in a previous meeting.

The new policy would send all funding requests through the SA treasurer, who would follow newly formalized guidelines to determine whether to approve or deny a request. Requests would be required to fall under one of three categories: Travel/Conferences, Events or Equipment.

Though the treasurer would make supplemental funding decisions, applicants would still be able to appeal unfavorable decisions to the Senate. 

Supplemental funding would be limited to $8,000 per club each academic year. Currently, there is no limit.

Senators called for two substantial changes to the proposal: the addition of a half-and-half split of the funding between the fall and spring semesters and removal of a provision that limited clubs to four supplemental funding awards per year.

SA President Becky Paul-Odionhin told senators she will incorporate those changes into an updated policy in time for the next Senate meeting, on Wednesday, April 24.

A proposal by Senate Chair Gavin Krauciunas, which would require that all supplemental funding decisions undergo Senate review before they are approved, saw little support among senators Wednesday and is unlikely to be included.

The new policy comes just over a month after SA introduced sweeping changes to its tier system for determining club budgets. Among other changes, the new tier system will provide “Tier 1” clubs with a $250 annual budget, helping negate the need for supplemental funding among new clubs.

Sarah Owusu contributed to the reporting of this article.

Sol Hauser is the senior news editor and can be reached at sol.hauser@ubspectrum.com

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