A student group watch-dog committee has proposed a verification form that would suspend student group funding if the form is not filed by the student groups by deadlines only weeks away. The proposed application would take away the spending and funding power of student groups in a month if three student leaders per group do not meet any of three deadlines for student group application.
Proposal may alter SFC verification process
A student group watch-dog committee has proposed a verification form that would suspend student group funding if the form is not filed by the student groups by deadlines only weeks away.
The proposed application would take away the spending and funding power of student groups in a month if three student leaders per group do not meet any of three deadlines for student group application. The Student Fee Committee (SFC) delayed a decision on the Student Organization Application Recognition (SOAR) committee’s proposed application until Oct. 2.
SOAR’s proposal would require that students fill out a two-page application to be a student group, and would also assure that students are registered for classes and are complying with SFC regulations as student groups.
SFC member Angela Manali-Leonardo said the committee chose not to deliberate on the proposal because the issue was important, they needed more time to deliberate, and some SFC members felt the proposal was an encroachment on student power.
”The SFC is the elected body by the students that makes decisions,” Manali-Leonnardo said. “We determine if they’re eligible and legitimate to serve funding.”
During Monday’s meeting, SFC members complained of a lack of clarity on the deadlines for the application and harsh wording concerning groups losing funds in the application process.
SOAR committee member Alex Accetta said the proposal would act as a security blanket to ensure that student groups are following their budgets and using funds the way they said they would.
”We don’t want someone that is not an official student running a student group,” Accetta said.
Accetta developed three criteria, which if students did not follow, the student group’s funding would eventually be suspended. Students would lose certain student group benefits if they do not meet the first two deadlines, and then see a loss of funding if they failed to meet the third criteria.
Under the proposal, if students do not turn in the application by Oct. 23, they would be allowed no expenditures for their group. If the application were not received by Oct. 30, they would be allowed no space for meetings or state vehicles for travel.
Students would then be required to meet with a Student Activities and Leadership Programs adviser by Nov. 7, and if they failed to do so, the groups would lose funding on Nov. 16.
The SOAR committee was created in fall of 2005, but no SFC members knew of SOAR or its goals until two weeks before classes started, except for the SFC Chair Madeline Enos.
Because Monday’s SFC meeting was the first instance that most SFC members had heard of SOAR, members complained of student groups not having enough time to complete the application process.
Enos, who also served as a member on the SOAR committee this summer, did not tell any other SFC members about SOAR during the summer. Enos said she had not warned the SFC about the application because SOAR members did not want to send out the application before it was completed.
Enos said the administration should not be creating a timeline. She said the proposed application may not take into consideration all options student groups are dealing with, such as a transition of leadership.
”There’s no guarantee that the same people are involved,” she said.
Dean of Students Wendy Endress convened SOAR because she said she identified a need for it at Portland State. She said she was concerned that there might be “entities accessing funds that are not recognizable student groups.”
”We currently don’t have the best process for insuring student organizations that are receiving funds,” Endress said.
Student body President Courtney Morse said she thinks making students follow this procedure is unreasonable. She said it is important for student groups to be transparent, but it is ridiculous to make student groups jump through this hoop.
”There are serious concerns to the message this is sending to student groups,” Morse said.
Morse and Enos proposed to have a similar application process take place in early December so that student groups can have a warning that is more than just a few weeks in advance.
”I don’t understand their logic,” Endress said, referring to the December date. “I don’t see how that benefits anybody.”
?”Additional reporting by Stover E. Harger III