Massachusetts Daily Collegian

SGA discusses funding rules, makes changes to bylaws

Beginning the transition to the next semester

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SGA discusses funding rules, makes changes to bylaws

Alvin Buyinza/Collegian

Alvin Buyinza/Collegian

Alvin Buyinza/Collegian

Alvin Buyinza/Collegian

By Kathrine Esten, Assistant News Editor

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The Student Government Association at the University of Massachusetts learned more about the Ways and Means funding process for student groups and made modifications to the bylaws Tuesday night.

The meeting, which was pushed forward one day due to Patriots Day, had low levels of attendance. Exactly 25 senators attended, the minimum necessary for a meeting to be held.

Following an increase in the Student Activities Fee last week, Acting Chair Megan Alberto of the Ways and Means Committee gave a presentation on the “PROM” ruling which was used to allocate funding to student agencies and registered student organizations for the 2019-20 academic year.

Alberto explained that several rules were revised before the start of the 2018 fall semester under the direction of the previous committee chair, Allie McCandless, and the changes were eventually approved by Student Legal Services.

“We really tried to define everything as much as possible so that way there would be less subjectivity,” Alberto said, adding that RSOs were given “multiple opportunities at various times” to seek advice and support in budget construction.

Explaining why the PROM rulings were introduced, Alberto said, “It’s student money, and we want to make sure it’s being handled correctly.”

Under PROM rulings, the professionalism of a budget, revenue contribution of an RSO, opportunities the group provides to UMass students and relevance of the mission and goals was scored between one and five. The total score out of 20 was then converted to a percentage.

For example, if an organization applied for $10,000 in funding and their budget received an 18 out of 20 on the PROM system (90 percent), they would receive $9,000 in funding. Later, the PROM system was modified so the funding cuts would only be applied through the revenue score.

“Before an across-the-board funding shortage cut and a revenue cut, groups asked for $3,741,634,” Alberto said. She added that even with the SATF increase, there is an expected shortage in funding.

During the meeting, three new members were appointed to Ways and Means in order to return the committee to a total of five members. New members include senators Nicholas Flanagan, Stacey Muanya and Jeremy Tammelleo.

A second motion, sponsored by the Administrative Affairs Committee, the Undergraduate Experience Committee and Associate Speaker Rachel Ellis, amended the SGA bylaws concerning the Undergraduate Experiences Committee. Introducing the motion, Ellis noted the current scope of the group was “too broad” and made it difficult for members to figure out which projects they could accomplish.

The motion, which passed, changed the UEC to the Undergraduate Services Committee. UEC members will serve as liaisons to specific services provided on campus including parking and transportation, dining and auxiliary services, health services, student safety, athletics and residential life.

The meeting ended with reports from various student government officers, several of which addressed transitions into the next academic year.

Hayden Latimer-Ireland, SGA vice president, notified senators that she and President Timmy Sullivan planned to have cabinet members for confirmation for the next meeting. Latimer-Ireland added that she met with the chancellor three times in the previous week to discuss proposals for a campus transition to renewable energy, an initiative which received support in the spring 2019 elections.

Speaker Ryan Mahan added that he was also working on transition for his office before the end of the semester.

“I have 13 days left,” he said.

Kathrine Esten can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter at @KathrineEsten.

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