Representatives from three divisional councils have expressed concerns about the Student Government Association (SGA)’s club participation audit.
With two weeks remaining in the club participation audit, 29 of 248 clubs have submitted membership and attendance data to the club participation audit committee, according to Hugh O’Neil (21C), a non-voting committee member who conducts “statistical support” for the committee.
O’Neil said that for clubs that either submit information after the deadline or do not collect data at all, the club audit committee would attempt to estimate the club’s attendance by extrapolating from the data available.
Student Government Association (SGA) approved formation of the committee to measure undergraduate club participation and adjust how the student activities fee (SAF) is allocated to divisional councils. SGA directed the committee to gather data from clubs from Sept. 31 to Nov. 19 and then analyze their findings and make recommendations on any adjustments to the SAF split.
Clubs have until Nov. 11 to complete a spreadsheet to report their membership and participation data to the committee, O’Neil said. Clubs that did not take attendance for major events can request a missing data exemption by providing an estimated number of attendees and an explanation as to why attendance was not taken.
The committee defines active “membership” in a student organization as attendance at two or more club meetings during the Fall 2018 semester or attendance at least 50 percent of general body meetings (GBMs), whichever is greater, O’Neil said.
College Council: Religious & Mental Health Groups
Some clubs chartered under CC have been unwilling or unable to provide membership data for the audit, College Council (CC) Vice President of Finance Teresa Wang (20B) said in an Oct. 25 audit committee meeting.
Some mental health groups, including Emory HelpLine, aren’t willing to disclose their membership, Wang said. In addition, some religious groups cannot record attendance because doing so would violate the rules of their religion, she added.
CC sent a representative to assess one club’s attendance but could not obtain an accurate count and only reported that she saw “many people are going,” Wang said.
CC Freshman Representative and audit committee member Chandler Smith (22C) said some clubs contacted CC to express confusion about the auditing process and requested an extension to provide data.
“I’m just not sure how confident we are that [clubs] will pull through towards the end,” Smith said.
Wang agreed with Smith, saying that many CC members believe the audit will not have enough data to come to a solid conclusion.
“Most of our CC exec board members and I talked to SGS as well — they don’t think one month is enough,” Wang said.
CC Vice President Hemal Prasad (19C) presented an amendment at SGA’s Oct. 3 meeting that would have extended the audit’s duration to a full year, but the legislature rejected the proposal with four votes in favor, six against and one abstention.
“I think we can make it an unofficial extension,” O’Neil said. “We wouldn’t publically extend the deadline, and for the clubs that didn’t submit then we would individually speak with every one of those clubs.”
SGA BBA Liaison and audit committee member Geoffrey Tseng (19B) agreed with O’Neil, saying the Nov. 11 was not “a hard deadline” and that the committee would account for late submissions.
Oxford: Conducting a ‘Parallel’ Audit
O’Neil wrote in an Oct. 30 email to the Wheel that the committee unanimously voted to approve Oxford SGA’s request to conduct a separate audit parallel to the one conducted by the SGA audit committee.
Because there are not enough student ID readers at the Oxford campus and cross-participation between Oxford and Atlanta clubs is negligible, the Oxford audit will ask different questions and operate on a different timeline from the Atlanta campus’ audit, O’Neil said.
O’Neil cited the text of the audit bill as justification for allowing the change.
“The parallel audit is a function of methodology of the audit, given that Oxford is still participating in this audit, with their own data collection techniques,” he wrote.
The audit bill passed by SGA says that, “Whereas, each committee member will be able to cast one vote for decisions such as audit methodology and potential penalties, with a majority required to make any change.”
Nursing Association: Trouble Soliciting Responses
Emory Student Nurses Association (ESNA) Audit Representative Gigi Rusnak (19N) said she also had trouble collecting responses from nursing clubs despite repeated requests via email.
Rusnak said she was told ESNA charters four clubs.
“I emailed those four clubs. I didn’t get a single response,” Rusnak said. “I didn’t know we had clubs until this was a thing. I’m not in any of them.”
Tseng said he was not concerned about the current low submission rate, explaining that clubs are probably waiting to submit data because they have events closer to the deadline.
“It’s understandable since it’s so early on. If you had an event coming up in November, you wouldn’t submit it now — you’d wait,” Tseng said.
O’Neil said the audit committee would defer to divisional councils on requiring clubs to submit their membership data.
“In the event that a club doesn’t respond, that’s up to the divisional council — they have authority,” O’Neil said.
Editor’s Note: Smith is a contributing writer for the Wheel. He was not involved in the composition of this article.