Last week, the Associated Student Government’s (ASG) senate passed a resolution that will dramatically change the process by which student organizations request funding. In the wake of last year’s financial mismanagement and abuses, including the allocation of more than $50,000 to a fashion show, ASG recognized the necessity of reforming the complex and opaque funding process. The Miami Student editorial board unanimously commends ASG for adopting a new biannual funding framework, and for implementing transparent and accessible funding guidelines.
Importantly, under the new funding framework, ASG has done away with the old three-part cycle and instead adopted a two-part funding cycle that coincides with the fall and spring semesters. This change is an important simplification of the funding process that makes the requisition of ASG funds more intuitive. The older three-part cycle was confusing and coincided poorly with the logical division of the school year. The decision to reduce the funding process to just two periods falls in line with the majority of students’ mental conceptions.
Additionally, the new funding manual and “layman’s” funding guide are indicative of ASG’s intentions to ensure that student organizations have equal access to the funding process. By clearly explicating the funding process, ASG has helped eliminate some of the bureaucratic issues that previously plagued organizations’ access to funds. When coupled with the new two-cycle framework, every student organization that is seeking funds should be able to apply for them on even footing. Moreover, ASG has also instituted a funding cap in order to ensure that no single organization receives an unfair amount of money during any single funding period. This is especially important given the incidents that occurred last year. Concerns regarding the inability of a student organization to fund a larger event or sponsor, for instance, a high profile speaker, have also been addressed by the petition provision included in the new legislation; this will allow exceptions to the funding caps to be made in the proper circumstances as deemed by ASG.
The rapid reform of ASG funding guidelines sets a good precedent for this year’s student government, and this proactive approach toward policy should be maintained in the months to come. Treasurer Brian Wood deserves praise for making good on a campaign promise to draft and implement these reforms, and his work on this issue will be a valuable asset to Miami’s student organizations. Hopefully, ASG will continue to make timely decisions that positively impact the university; likewise, students must communicate with their campus leaders and ensure that the organization continues to address relevant issues.