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AFAB explores funding allocation changes

April 28, 2011

Dues charging student organizations, including fraternities and sororities at UW-River Falls might have the opportunity to request funds in the same way as all other student organizations in the near future.

During his campaign, Student Senate President-elect Tyler Halverson vocalized his view that all student organizations should be treated equally, specifically when it comes to receiving funds from the Allocable Fees and Appropriation Board or AFAB.

“A lot of groups are not getting enough money to pay for everything that they need to exercise their greatest abilities,” said Halverson.

With the additional funds, dues paying student organizations would be enabled to achieve their organizations goals, he added.

“As a dues paying organization, we have to do fundraisers like River Falls Idol for the simplest things,” said Nikki Shonoiki, a sister of Phi Mu.

Members of dues paying organizations, like those in the Greek community, have to meet their expenses independently rather than receiving assistance from AFAB, said Student Senate director and Phi Mu sister Jayne Dalton.

Greek organizations are heavily involved in philanthropy work. They are obligated to hold events so that they are able to raise funds for their communities core outreach missions, said Dalton.

AFAB’s current policy states that if money is charged onto the members of a particular organization, it will not provide addition financial assistance, said AFAB member Charlotte Evans.

Student organizations that charge dues are missing one key component that is offered by other student organizations, said AFAB Chair Jordan Harshman.

“Our primary concern is in the name of inclusiveness,” said Harshman. “We as an AFAB hold a certain position that guarantees student access to any organization.”

UWRF students can join most campus organizations free or charge because the organizations are funded through automatic student segregated fees. These fees are charged to all students, totaling $68 per year, said Harshman.

Dues paying organizations are not completely cut off from receiving additional funds from the Student Senate. Senate will allot money from its reserve account to meet the financial needs of an organization, in the case that they hold an all-inclusive event, said Evans.

Earlier in the spring semester, AFAB was charged by Student Senate to review its policy regarding the exclusion of dues paying organizations from student-segregated fees.

Evans said AFAB had a lot of concerns with the proposed changes and thought it would be irresponsible to make a decision on that policy with the short of amount of time that was left in the semester.

A large concern with AFAB was the ability for organizations to have “offshore” accounts. If dues are charged, organizations would have accounts that would be difficult for AFAB to monitor, said Harshman.

AFAB would have to monitor those accounts to ensure that the allocated money was being used properly and legally, said Evans.

“It really would be difficult for us to make sure that student money was beging spent legally,” she added.

Harshamn said a solution would be to require all accounts to be kept at the on campus bank, which allows certain people on campus to monitor an organization’s account.

Halverson said he hopes to have an individual hired within Student Affairs, whose job would be to monitor student organization accounts. That person would then be advised by AFAB.

Each Student Senate in the UW System handles segregated fees differently. Therefore, there is no procedural standard to follow with issues such as this, said Harshman.

This year Halverson was chair of the Club Sports Allocations Board or CSAB. The board did allow funding for dues to be charged by Club Sports.

The funding did require a cap for required dues, which worked “fantastically.” Members could be charged $25 a month and $250 a year, said Halverson.

Halverson added that for those that could not afford the dues, CSAB budgeted for scholarship money.

With or without dues being charged, there is usually some upset by student organizations when they receive their allotted funds from AFAB, said Harshman.

There is never enough money to give organizations all of the requested money. As a result, Student segregated fees increase almost every year, said Shonoiki, who is also a part of Black Student Union, a non dues paying organization.

Shonoiki added that the “natural” increase in segregated fees would allow for enough money to provide funds for dues paying and non dues paying organizations alike.

“I would rather see us fighting over the same pool of money,” said Dalton, who has also been in an other non dues paying organization.

Currently, members in the Greek community pay over $100 to their organization. Money is charged based on the needs of the organization, said Dalton.

All costs are left up to the members, which gets expensive for a lot of college students, said Shonoiki.

“We just want to be able to have the same status because we do the same things as other student orgs,” Dalton added.

Technically, Student Senate cannot order AFAB to change its policy, however, the chair member is appointed every year by the Student Senate president. Harshman happens to be graduating this year. It is with his new position that Halverson said he plans on making an effective change.

“I want to hear what senators have to say equally as well. Changes will be made, to what extent, remains to be seen,” Halverson added.

“I would like to see this go through, I know that there is two sides to every story but it would make a huge difference in what we are trying to accomplish,” Dalton said.