FULL COVERAGE:

For Monday’s story about the legislation and accounting error, click here.
A full story about Monday’s meeting and the final vote will be available tonight.
To read an editorial from members of the Media Council, click here.

1) What is this bill?

There are two parts. One makes it so that the four University-wide organizations – Student Programming Council (SPC), Media Council, Outdoor Emory Organization and Club Sports – have to apply for funding on an as-needed basis and must receive a majority vote from the SGA legislature, just like other organizations. This is the “fee-split percentages” aspect of the bill, and it could take effect by fall 2014 at the earliest.

Right now, these organizations receive a set amount of Student Activities Fee (SAF) money at the beginning of the year. Each student contributes $89 to the SAF as part of tuition each semester.

The other part adds a new “data entry” specialist position. To fund the position, the 12 divisional councils’ funding will each be cut by 1 percent starting next semester.

2) Why did some Student Government Association legislators want to make these organizations receive funding the same way that other organizations do?

The bill says University-wide organizations spend their money very differently year to year. It also says some organizations spend all the money they get (plus more) while others don’t spend even half of their budget.

3) Why are some student organization leaders opposed to having these organizations receive funding the same way other organizations do?

Some say this change would give SGA too much power and would take away the organizations’ independence. Members of these organizations also say it would add unnecessary bureaucracy to the process and wouldn’t let students have a say in where SAF money goes.

Some SGA members felt that legislative members were not listening to the community members during Monday’s meeting when they voiced their opposition to the bill.

4) What was the result of Monday’s SGA meeting?

The SGA legislature members passed the bill to take away the organizations’ fixed percentages of the SAF but, in an amendment, they created a committee of these organizations’ leaders to review specific aspects of the new system, such as how the money will be split up. They also established a new data entry position in the SGA Business Office, which will be funded by taking 1 percent from each divisional council’s budget.

5) What is the SGA error?

For the past two years, SGA accidentally overfunded the four University-wide organizations because of an accounting error. Now, the affected organizations have to pay money back to SGA. Here is how much money the organizations have paid back:

Media Council: About $34,000
Club Sports: About $17,000
Outdoor Emory: Almost $7,500
SPC: About $21,900, but unlike the other University-wide organizations, SPC has three years to pay back SGA because of the large amount of money it receives from SGA.

SGA members say this accounting error happened when they switched the software they use to manage finances about two years ago.

6) How is this bill related to the error?

SGA members say it isn’t related. They say the timing is coincidental.

7) What is your opinion of the bill?

Facebook us, tweet at us @emorywheel or email us at [email protected] with your opinion of the bill and the SGA accounting error.

– By Karishma Mehrotra

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