SFC proposes changes to guidelines

The Student Fee Committee (SFC) has entered into a month-long process of guideline revisions that could drastically alter the way student group funding is requested and received.

The Student Fee Committee (SFC) has entered into a month-long process of guideline revisions that could drastically alter the way student group funding is requested and received.

The proposals address how the SFC deals with conflict of interest issues, revamps the student group hearing and deliberation process, and would make the annual budget process a biennial process.

The SFC allocates $12 million each year to student groups, including athletics and the Vanguard.

SFC Chair Madeline Enos introduced a proposed plan to create a two-year budgeting process, which would have half of the more than 100 student groups submit a two-year budget plan every other year. If the plan were enacted next year, for example, 50 groups would submit a two-year budget next year, and the other 50 groups would submit a two-year budget the year after.

Enos said this would help the budget allocation process by letting the SFC focus more in-depth on the budgets. She said they based the proposal on a process Southern Oregon University has used in the past.

This would affect all services and programs that receive funding from the SFC. On years that a budget is not due, programs would be required to give a presentation to the SFC detailing any new data about their group that could impact budgeting.

Enos said that they would only be allocating money for a base budget, and said that if the budget needs to be increased for some reason, the group can request reserve funding. She said she would be interested in looking at this proposal more in-depth.

“We’re really interested in whether or not it would be viable for PSU,” Enos said.

Alex Accetta, coordinator for Campus Recreation, said he has considered a two-year budgeting model, but now isn’t sure if it is a good idea. He said while the intent might be to make the workload less, it lowers the accountability of many groups who now only present themselves every two years.

Two proposals were discussed that would seek to alleviate conflict of interests within the SFC.

This year, three of the seven SFC members were associated with the Pacific Islanders club. On one occasion, when it came down to discussing issues related to that group, three of the five members present at that meeting were associated with the club.

The SFC is proposing a better record keeping process of who is affiliated with what groups to fix this issue. Currently, the SFC runs on the honor system, relying on members to disclose their affiliations.

2007-08 SFC Chair-elect Amanda Newberg said she plans to focus less on mandating which students can be associated with what groups next year, and more on making sure SFC members attend all the meetings. She said if members attended all the meetings, it wouldn’t matter who is associated with what group.

A proposed change to the way the SFC hears and deliberates on student group budgets could have the largest impact, Enos said. The SFC found the hearing deliberation format to be difficult because the time between hearings and deliberations was so long.

The proposal would put deliberations immediately after hearings. Aubrey Lindstrom, vice chair of the SFC, said that having the deliberations right after hearings would guarantee that student group members would be present to hear the rationale behind their allocations.

Other proposals would add language to guideline clauses about discretionary reserves; ask student groups to keep inventory records of large items; increase transparency within student group literature that says they were funded by student fees; and clarify which groups need to have parent board approval for their budget process. (The Vanguard relies on parent board approval for their budget, while Student Activities and Leadership Programs does not under its advisory board’s current bylaws.)

Enos said the SFC will be administrating a web survey about the guideline revisions. The committee will ask for input from anyone in the university about the submitted proposals and anything they would like to see changed.