NEWS

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November 25, 2008

Student Government passes new RSO-funding guidelines

The Student Government Finance Committee (SGFC) unanimously passed an updated set of guidelines for Registered Student Organization (RSO) funding Thursday. The guidelines serve as a reference for both Student Government (SG) and RSOs seeking funding, but do not have the force of bylaws, which dictate SGFC’s actions.

A new preamble, also added to the guidelines, explains that the guidelines are a tool to help RSOs understand the allocation process, but that SGFC is not bound to follow them when it apportions money.

The revisions were written and proposed by SG vice-president for administration, second-year Julian Quintanilla. They are part of a larger movement to improve SGFC’s allocation of funding and to help guide RSOs through the application process, according to SG President and fourth-year Matt Kennedy.

The primary changes included in the guidelines explain that there is an appeals process for denied RSOs and that funding is not given for RSO kick-off events. The revisions also broaden the guidelines’ language to include more room for exceptions. Other changes were minor, according to Quintanilla. While the revised document makes these changes widely known, the policies they detail have been in place for weeks.

SGFC guidelines were originally put together in November 2003 and were last updated in May 2006. Kennedy said that guidelines would not bind SGFC decisions in the future.

“It’s not just a function machine,” Kennedy said, adding that the guidelines will help reduce the uncertainty some RSOs have when they petition for funds. This would allow the RSOs to put forward a better argument as to why an exception should be made for them, he said.

“You can come in prepared with an argument for why this event doesn’t fall under those guidelines,” Kennedy said.

According to Kennedy, the changes were made to keep the guidelines in step with the way SGFC does business.

“Over the years, these [practices] tend to change, whether in amount of money requested or the total number of requests, or changes in the philosophy in members of committee,” he said.

He identified Quintanilla and Katie Proctor, a fourth-year College Council representative, as the driving forces behind the changes.

Quintanilla described the guideline changes as “part of a much larger conversation that’s taking place throughout the course of the year” to reassess SGFC practices. He anticipates making recommendations to the committee at the end of winter quarter or in the early spring.

Fourth-year and UC Dancers director Adrienne Schmoeker was not convinced that the guidelines would have the desired effect. Her RSO submitted four proposals for funding allocations on Novermber 11, all of which were initially denied.

“I’m afraid the revised version wouldn’t have helped much,” she said. “Most of the confusion was due to the fact that most of us weren’t familiar with how to go through this process.”