Club Audit Rushed, Unreliable

The Student Government Association (SGA)’s club participation audit is failing because of more than just its excessively short time-frame.

The Editorial Board shares College Council’s (CC) sentiment that one month simply is not enough time to form an accurate picture of undergraduate clubs’ financial needs, especially given the concerns raised by clubs and divisional councils last week.

In their attempt to conduct a hasty audit of club participation, SGA has failed to issue clear guidelines and anticipate challenges in collecting data. Clubs have contacted CC to express confusion about the audit and request extensions, according to CC Freshman Representative and audit chair Chandler Smith (22C). For clubs who fail to submit information, the audit committee plans to extrapolate from available member data from clubs and organizations not gathered during the audit. But altering how the student activities fee (SAF) is distributed among divisional councils should be based on more than mere guesstimates, and it’s unclear what data, if any, is available. Imprecise and incomplete data will fail to provide an accurate picture of current club participation. No legitimate new fee split can hinge upon information inconsistent with current club participation.

Additionally, student groups, especially those with sensitive membership information, have not received adequate accommodations. Some mental health or religious groups cannot or have chosen not to participate in providing membership data, which further undermines the integrity of the SAF audit. According to College Council (CC) VP of Finance, Teresa Wang (20B), the Emory HelpLine, for example, is not willing to disclose its membership, and for some religious groups, using technology on certain days violates rules of their religion. These clubs are an essential component of the student population that the audit will not adequately represent.

Although the club audit committee has promised adjust to meet these clubs’ needs, the audit deadline is less than one week away. SGA’s disorganization and incoordination in conducting the audit — one CC representative sent to an event to count participation only reported “many people are going” — must be seriously examined and questioned before adjusting the SAF split.

The audit that is supposed to serve student groups and organizations is doing the exact opposite. If this audit is to be the foundation for a fair re-allocation of club funding, SGA needs to extensively revise its data collection methodology and extend the audit’s timeline.

The Editorial Board is composed of Zach Ball, Jacob Busch, Ryan Fan, Andrew Kliewer, Madeline Lutwyche, Boris Niyonzima, Omar Obregon-Cuebas, Shreya Pabbaraju, Isaiah Sirois, Madison Stephens and Kimia Tabatabaei.

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