Although it only took about five minutes to unanimously pass the major changes to the funding process through Associated Student Government’s (ASG) senate Tuesday evening, the time it took to draft the document seemed like an eternity to several of the organization’s veteran members.
“This is something I’ve always wanted to do, since I was on (ASG’s) funding committee freshman year,” said Brian Wood, ASG’s vice president of management, who wrote the resolution.
Changing the student organization funding process was “brought to the forefront,” last semester when former Vice President of Management John Woods misallocated $77,000 to three different student organizations, according to Wood.
This misallocation of funds resulted in a 52 percent cutback of ASG’s
funding budget for the third funding cycle during the 2006-07 school year.
Several senators agreed with Wood-change was necessary.
“With cutbacks in the past couple years of up to 52 percent, this is a super important bill,” said sophomore senator Matt Stephan. “If we don’t change (the funding process), we’re not doing our jobs as (student) representatives.”
In order to make sure history didn’t repeat itself, this summer Wood met regularly with ASG Treasurer Brendan Buholzer, Student Body President Jens SutmÃ¶ller, and adviser Denny Roberts, drafting ideas that would make the funding process more structured.
According to Wood, he wrote nine to 10 drafts before presenting the resolution to senate last week-roughly 70-80 hours of work.
The resolution, which will take effect immediately, has shifted the funding process from a three-cycle year to two cycles-one each semester.
Last spring, during his campaign for the position of vice president of management, Wood said the three-cycle process was too complicated for organizations and committees to adhere to.
Wood also wanted to restrict the amount of money organizations could receive from ASG, so incidents similar to one that occurred last spring-when a single organization was given $49,300-can be avoided.
In order to do this, Wood “capped” the amount student organizations could request in a single hearing.
In the words of the resolution, during each of the two cycles, any single student organization may not submit total requests exceeding $9,000.
Organizations seeking to request unity funding (for an event sponsored by three or more student organizations) cannot ask for more than $13,000 per unity request.
And no newly recognized student organization can request more than $3,000 worth of “start-up” money for the new year during the administrative funding cycle held in April, which is separate from the two cycles for event and unity funding.
Currently there are no caps on organizations capital requests, which are requests for tangible goods.
Wood held that the most debate centered on adjusting the level of the proposed caps, but held that the new numbers act as a “good medium.”
“Most requests we’ve gotten over $9,000 ate up a significant amount of our budget,” he said.
The final resolution also included an article proclaiming that a two-thirds vote of the funding committee can suspend the prescribed caps in case of an exceptional event, but Wood said he could not think of any exceptions at the moment.
Student senate had no problems with the bill as it passed unanimously following a debate period containing no negative remarks.
“It’s just that good,” sophomore senator Adam Harris said.
In order to maintain these changes, this summer Wood, SutmÃ¶ller, and ASG Treasurer Brendan Buholzer worked to write two different packets explaining the funding process.
One packet contains the standing rules of funding and is more technical and will be used by ASG’s funding committee when hearing requests from student organizations. The other packet explains the funding process in layman’s terms and will be distributed to all student organizations.
However, Wood mentioned that both versions of the packet could be found on the ASG Web site at www.orgs.muohio.edu/muasg.