Kristen Grace, Senior Staff Writer

Organizations are on their own when it comes to keeping track of their finances after Associated Student Government (ASG) voted unanimously Tuesday to officially end the debt relief program.

The program was initially created to assist student organizations that were indebted to the university by acquiring the debt and lowering the total amount to be paid, said Tom Foster, vice president of student organizations.

“I think it’s definitely important that ASG stops assuming the debt of organizations and that they take the responsibility of their finances,” student senator Elizabeth Bersin said.

As part of the program, organizations would raise money and ASG would match it by 200 percent, helping to decrease the amount of debt the organization would have to pay off, Foster said.

According to Foster, now organizations will have to pay all of their debt back to the university without any assistance from ASG.

“It’s going to be on them to check and make sure there is money in their account,” Foster said.

The push by ASG to end the debt relief program was because, according to student senator Michael Sinko, assisting organizations in debt was taking money away from responsible organizations.

“These debts are kind of a leech on our ability to function,” Sinko said.

In addition to ending the debt relief program, ASG is also considering a bill that will limit the privileges of organizations in debt and hopefully further deter student organizations from ever getting in debt.

As part of the new bill, once an organization is in debt, it will no longer be able to access its spending accounts, nor will it be able to apply for ASG funding during the two event cycles. The organizations will also not be able to use university privileges such as table tents, Foster said.

While concern was raised during questioning about whether revoking certain privileges would hinder organizations from repaying debt, Foster said the goal of this act is to deter organizations from falling into debt in the first place.

If the second bill passes, it will be implemented Jan. 1, 2011 and be fully in place in fall 2011. However, organizations currently still in the debt relief program will not be subject to these limitations, Foster said.

“My goal is not to pull the rug out of any student organizations,” Foster said.

Foster hopes these extra limitations for organizations in debt will encourage organization leaders and members to watch their spending a little more closely.

“Hopefully they’ll become financially responsible,” student senator Hannah Phillips said.