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AFAB set to review funding policies

March 10, 2011

The Allocable Fee and Appropriations Board, or AFAB, will begin to review their policies for the coming school year, which could give organizations that charge dues, such as sororities and fraternities, the chance to receive AFAB funding for the first time.

At the Feb. 22 meeting of the Student Senate, it was resolved that AFAB needs to review its policy regarding the allocation of funds to dues-charging organizations.

“This simply means AFAB has to review the policy,” said AFAB Chair, Jordan Harshman. “The review means to look at it and consider if it is good or bad for the student body.”

The change could have something to do with the large number of sorority and fraternity members on Student Senate.  Currently Phi Mu, Delta Theta Sigma and Alpha Gamma Rho are represented in the group, said Senator and Phi Mu member Jayne Dalton.

“We understand other dues paying organizations could benefit as well,” Dalton said.

Other dues-paying organizations that could benefit would include organizations such as the Association of Women in Agriculture, or AWA, and Agricultural Mechanics Club.

“I find it to be a benefit to have the opportunity to receive funds,” said AWA member Michaela Fox. “There are some opportunities for programming our club would want to do, but simply can’t because we don’t have the necessary funding.”

“It’s a good idea because it gives opportunities to clubs that want to complete community involvement, but don’t have the funds to do.  Some club’s dues only cover one big event each year, so it limits other yearly activities,” said Agricultural Mechanics Club member Kelsey Peterson.

Since the formation of AFAB in 2009, dues-charging organizations have not been able to receive the funds from the segregated fees that all students pay into as a part of their tuition, said Student Senator Tyler Halverson.

There are currently four universities in the UW System that allow dues-charging organizations to receive funds from segregated fees.  These universities include UW-Whitewater, UW-Superior, UW-Eau Claire and UW-Stout, said Ben Casper, member of Delta Theta Sigma.

“There is no policy in place that says dues-paying organizations cannot get segregated fee funding.  It was a policy implemented by people in the university,” said Casper.

The policy was originally put in place for student inclusivity in the UW-River Falls campus, said Harshman.

“If you want to, as a student, participate in an organization and share ideas, you should be able to get together for free because all students pay $35.50 to contribute to those funds,” Harshman said.

The discussion is important because it affects how AFAB spends students’ segregated fees, said Charlotte Evans, AFAB committee member.

“It’s going to be a good thing to take the concerns of the constituents into consideration,” Evans said.

The main concern is to see how students can pay into the system and still get something back, Evans said.

“I don’t want students to get dinged twice because organizations have their own means of funding,” Evans said.  He also said that he hopes the changes would allow students to participate with or without paying dues.

Although AFAB does not necessarily need to change their policy, it could eventually allow dues-charging organizations to participate,  Halverson said.

“The biggest reason these changes are necessary is because students by and large want it,” Halverson said.  “As long as I’ve been on senate, groups have pushed to have the clause removed.  Now we have taken steps towards that actually happening.”

Dues-paying organizations contribute a lot to the community, especially the Greek blood drive held two times a year.  The Greek Community contributes the money without receiving help from the university, Casper said.

“Students in dues paying organizations are paying into a fund without having access.  They need to join a non-dues-charging organization to reap the benefits,” Casper said.

Dues-paying organizations will benefit greatly because there will be an opportunity to fund things such as travel costs, Dalton said.

“The change means more organizations for AFAB to look at and have hearing for.  There will be more added to the pool,” Dalton said.

If the policy were to change, it would give organizations the opportunity to charge dues.  It has been done with sports clubs and there hasn’t been a problem, said Halverson.

“There is a greater ability to obtain money.  Organizations have to go to other places for money if AFAB doesn’t have it,” Halverson said.

The change shouldn’t have an effect on student involvement because students in organizations are generally contributing fully, Dalton said.

“It’s all about what people want to be involved in and what commitment they’re willing to make,” Dalton said.